President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy held their first session about raising the nation's debt ceiling on Wednesday, and both described the talks later with the sort of diplomatic wording that would, were it a negotiation with a foreign adversary, make everyone nervous. The two had a "frank and straightforward dialogue," a White House statement said. "I shared my perspective with him, he shared his," McCarthy said, Politico reports. "No agreements, no promises, except that we would continue this conversation." Both politicians are feeling pressure from members of their parties to strike a deal, and Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday that the Federal Reserve won't be able to head off economic crisis unless the debt limit is raised.
Congressional Republicans have said they won't agree to raise the debt ceiling without major spending cuts, per the New York Times. Biden has said he won't negotiate on the debt limit, which aides said he reiterated Wednesday to McCarthy. "I can see where we can find common ground," the Republican told reporters. He wouldn't specify what he proposed to Biden but said they might be able to reach a two-year agreement on funding. Spending cuts would have to be included, McCarthy said. Biden aides have floated the idea of a deal that would raise the debt ceiling while making minor concessions to appease McCarthy's members—possibly establishing a commission to consider future cuts in government spending, per Politco. (Read more debt ceiling stories.)