Republicans Question Urgency of Treasury Secretary Yellen’s June 1 Default Deadline

As limited progress was made in US debt talks on Tuesday, some House Republicans questioned the accuracy of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s deadline to extend the debt ceiling in order to avoid a default.

At a news conference on Tuesday, a group of Republicans led by Rep. Steve Scalise, the House Majority Leader, stated, “We’d like to see more transparency on how they come to that date.”

Scalise added that he believed Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s latest comments, released on Monday, “implied that June 1 or later, giving some openness to the idea that June 1 may not be the so-called X-date.”

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Yellen reiterated June 1 as the earliest date on which the US could be in risk of a serious debt default. Yellen’s latest letter to congressional leaders echoed her spring statements, but there were two minor changes in Monday’s statement.

The first was that Yellen had previously described the possibility of a debt default as “highly likely” but had downgraded that assessment to “likely” just a week ago. Monday’s letter also removed language from last week’s letter implying that the Treasury’s emergency measures to meet government obligations could extend the default date into June.

“We haven’t really been able to see a lot of transparency, but it looks like they’re hedging now and opening up the door to move that date back,” said Scalise.