Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy “sounded optimistic” on a debt ceiling deal in their morning conference on Tuesday, after White House officials left the Capitol late Monday night with no deal in place.
“Even this afternoon at lunch, I know that there were some folks coming in from the White House, and the looks on some of their faces coming out of that meeting were positive,” Valadao said in an interview on Meet the Press NOW.
Valadao says all the conversations he’s had with Speaker McCarthy have been “optimistic” and seem like a deal is looming, but the biggest challenge standing in the way is “extreme positions” from each party, including his own.
“I just think we need to get all the more extreme parts of our party just to back off a little bit, and allow the speaker to negotiate with the president and find some sort of compromise that we can all work together on,” Valadao said.
President Joe Biden carried the California Republican's district by 13 points in the 2020 election. It's the second-biggest Biden margin of any Republican-held House district in the country.
Despite the obstacles to a deal, Valadao believes McCarthy does have room to negotiate with Biden and will have the votes to pass a deal in the House, though he said talks should have happened months ago.
“I think the president should have been at the table a lot longer ago. … But sadly they waited till the last minute. And here we are today,” Valadao said.
Valadao said House Republicans’ request to get back to 2022 spending levels is “not an extreme position” and something he says they’ve talked with the president about before.
“It’s something that we put out and we talked about for quite some time,” Valadao said. “The guy’s been in Washington longer than I’ve been alive. And I’m in my mid 40s, he should understand that compromise is what this country was built on.”
Valadao said there is a possibility he would support freezing spending levels but no tax increases as a part of final negotiations. On cutting spending to private health companies, Valadao said it’s something to be talked about but would be inappropriate to “throw in” this late in the game.
“We’ve been talking about bringing the president to the table for a month now with a plan in place that he can point to, and to be throwing these late minute things out there just to shake the room up isn’t productive,” Valadao said.
Valadao believes a longer-term debt ceiling deal will make it to the table by the June 1 deadline, citing a looming election as an impetus for lawmakers to firm up a deal.
“I don’t know if the president wants to go through this again. And I know the majority of members in the House and Senate do not want to go through another debt ceiling fight before the next election cycle,” Valadao said. “All of our jobs are always on the line, and we always face another election. I do believe the president will be judged. I do believe the speaker and I do believe myself will be judged.”