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Negotiators press on as U.S. debt default looms

STORY: As the U.S. careens toward a potential debt default, Democratic and Republican negotiators held talks on Wednesday to try to close a deal to raise the United States' self-imposed $31.4 trillion debt limit.

At a White House briefing Wednesday, press secretary Karine Jean Pierre criticized Republicans, saying that averting default is the responsibility of every single member of Congress and not a concession.

"A default would have catastrophic impacts in every single part of this country. Whether you are in a red state or in a blue state, it doesn't matter. Every single part of the country. We're talking about millions of jobs lost, devastated retirement accounts and a recession."

Both sides called Wednesday's talks "productive," and McCarthy said negotiations would continue into the evening.

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MCCARTHY: "We're not going to default. We're going to solve this problem. I will stay with it until we can get it done. But let's be honest about this. We have to spend less than we spent last year. It is not my fault that the Democrats cannot give up on their spending.

The White House and congressional Democrats accused Republicans of taking the economy hostage to advance an agenda they could otherwise not pass. They said Republicans need to make more concessions as they will need Democratic votes to pass any deal.

Top House Democrat Hakeem Jeffries:

"It's not clear to me that the extreme MAGA Republicans in the House are having these discussions in good faith. It does appear increasingly likely that House Republicans want a dangerous default. They want to crash the economy and they want to trigger a job-killing recession."

Speaking at a Wall Street Journal forum, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reiterated that the government will be unable to pay all its bills by early June but said she did not know exactly what day the government will run out of resources.

“I think the most important thing to recognize is that we must raise the debt ceiling."

Time is running short, with just eight days before the June 1 deadline - and it will take several days to pass legislation through the narrowly divided Congress.

House Republican leaders said they would adjourn on Thursday for a week-long Memorial Day holiday recess, but would call lawmakers back if needed for any votes