McCarthy says they need a debt deal by this weekend. It’s more complicated than that.


Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said Congress needs a debt limit deal by this weekend in order to avert a default by early June. It’s a bit more complicated than that.

If Congress pulls out all the procedural stops, passing a debt ceiling and broader budget deal through both chambers could take a week and a half. That would push the U.S. uncomfortably close to the potential June 1 default deadline, even if leaders can reach a deal this weekend.

While leaders are feeling optimistic about the latest negotiations, a compromise would have to be struck in the coming days — already a monumental feat — and congressional staff would also have to scramble to compile technical legislative text. In reality, talks are only now starting to get serious.