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Key Republican negotiator says ‘thorny’ issues remain unsettled in possible debt deal

Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC) spoke to the media on Friday at the Capitol.Kevin Dietsch/Photographer: Kevin Dietsch/Gett

Representative Patrick McHenry said Saturday that there are still “thorny issues” in the negotiations between House Republicans and the White House to avert a catastrophic US default.

“It’s hours or days, I don’t know when,” McHenry, one of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s top negotiators, said at the Capitol.

There is a “very short list” of differences that remain, he added.

Negotiators for McCarthy and President Joe Biden worked into the night to try to resolve a default, which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says could happen June 5. McHenry said it’s a “severe challenge” to pass a bill before that X-date.

Work requirements for anti-poverty programs were among the remaining sticking points Friday night.