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No deal in sight on debt limit, Treasury suspends investments in federal employee retirement fund

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries accused the GOP of "blackmail" over debt ceiling on Wednesday.

Published: January 25, 2023 3:16pm

Updated: January 25, 2023 11:20pm

There is no deal in sight between congressional leaders and the White House on raising the nation's $31.4 debt limit as the Treasury Department continues its "extraordinary measures," including suspending new investments in a federal employee retirement fund.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that the agency cannot continue its investments in the Government Securities Investment Fund until the debt ceiling is lifted higher. 

"The statute governing G Fund investments expressly authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to suspend investment of the G Fund to avoid breaching the statutory debt limit," Yellen wrote in a letter addressed to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy this week.

Ahead of meeting with McCarthy, Schumer said on Wednesday that the GOP is "playing brinkmanship" with the debt limit and "holding hostages."

"Show us the plan," Schumer said. "Show your own caucus the plan, and see if you've got to the votes to pass it."

McCarthy has said he wants to meet with Biden on the debt limit, but the White House has said the president is not negotiating.

"His going to the White House is like going with no cards in his hand," Schumer said. "Instead of playing that dangerous game on brinksmanship, it's incumbent on them to show, 'OK, what's your plan?' We have a plan. Pass the debt ceiling without hostage taking, without any brinksmanship. What's their plan? They haven't shown it."

Conservative Republicans have called for spending cuts to accompany an increase to the debt limit.

Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick and Democratic New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer, cochairs of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, have suggested tying the debt ceiling to a percentage of the U.S. annual economic output. Just the News reached out to McCarthy's office to see if he is supportive of the plan, but his office did not respond before press time.

Fitzpatrick has also floated the idea of a discharge petition as a last resort to force a vote on increasing the debt limit. 

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said he shares Schumer's position on the debt ceiling. 

"There's a difference between negotiation and blackmail," Jeffries said. "What they're essentially saying on the other side of the aisle is we will detonate Social Security, detonate Medicare, detonate veterans benefits or possibly even risk a catastrophic default for the first time in American history that will send us spiraling toward a recession if not a depression unless you cave into our extreme MAGA Republican demands. That ain't negotiation, that's blackmail."

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