Debt anxiety falls a little on the Hill. It might not be enough.


President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy are still very much in the finger-pointing stage of the economy-rattling debt crisis. Yet some possible signs of life have begun to emerge.

Senior Hill aides have agreed to start more in-depth talks on government spending — though Democrats insist those are on a separate track from raising the nation’s debt limit. Biden has said he’d take a “hard look” at unspent Covid aid money in the talks. A top White House advisor is laying out ideas for energy permitting reform — one of the GOP’s biggest debt limit priorities.

It’s all far short of a compromise to bridge the mile-wide gap between party leaders, who have retreated to their corners since their Oval Office sit-down on Tuesday. Top Democrats are still refusing to entertain the GOP’s spending cut demands, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer castigating McCarthy in a bid to split him from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. And Republicans are complaining that Biden is running out the clock.