© Bloomberg. WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 20: A pedestrian walks past the U.S. Capitol on October 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. Senate Republicans are looking to hold a confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Monday, October 26, approximately one week before the Presidential election.(Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images) Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images
(Bloomberg) — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s top debt-ceiling negotiators abruptly left a closed-door meeting with White House representatives soon after it began Friday morning, throwing into doubt the status of talks to avoid a US default.
“Look, they’re just unreasonable,” Republican Representative Garret Graves said, adding that the talks were on a “pause.”
See reaction: Treasuries Pare Losses After Report on Debt Negotiations
Graves said he did not know if the negotiators would meet again Friday or over the weekend. White House spokespeople didn’t immediately comment.
Stocks slumped on the news, which countered any lift they might otherwise have received from remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. The Fed chief said at a Friday event that policymakers might not need to raise interest rates as high, thanks to tightening credit conditions. The was down 0.4% as of 11:41 a.m., after being up 0.4% earlier.
“Unless they are willing to have reasonable conversations about how you can actually move forward and do the right thing, we’re not going to sit here and talk to ourselves,” Graves said, as House Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry stood near him.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell meanwhile tweeted that it is “past time for the White House to get serious. Time is of the essence.”
Graves’ comments come a day after McCarthy said he could see a deal coming together with a House vote next week.
McCarthy’s comments Thursday were his most positive take yet on the negotiations to avoid a default, which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has signaled could become a risk as soon as June 1.
Market participants have warned of a surge in borrowing costs and blow to equities in the event of any default, with reverberations to the global economy that could rival the 2008 crash.
Republicans have been pressing for sweeping spending cuts, along with regulatory changes that Democrats have opposed. The months-long impasse between the two sides since the Treasury hit the debt limit in January has prompted increasing warnings from economists of a damaging recession if the brinkmanship continues to escalate.