As the clock ticks down to the Treasury Department’s June 1 default deadline, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., says both sides remain far apart on a deal, but remains confident that a deal can be brokered between the White House and his Republican conference.
“We’ll get it done,” McCarthy told reporters with a smile as he left the House floor and headed back to his office Tuesday afternoon. "Remember, you wondered if I would ever become Speaker. I never give up, so don’t worry."
One major breakthrough in recent days has been the narrowing of the scope of negotiations, with key White House staffers and McCarthy's trusted House Republican colleagues haggling directly.
With just 8 days to go until the possible 'x-date,' the day the country will run out of money to fund its obligations, who are the negotiators in the room?
The 66 year-old from Westlake, Ohio has long been a confidant in Biden’s orbit. Ricchetti currently serves as a counselor to the president, and chaired Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. Richetti also served as chief of staff for then-Vice President Biden from 2013-2017.
Ricchetti is a fixture in Washington, serving as deputy chief of staff and deputy assistant to the president for legislative affairs during Bill Clinton's administration. He also spent nearly a decade as a registered lobbyist on Capitol Hill.
This isn’t the first time Biden has tapped Richetti to head to the hill to cut a deal. Back in 2021, Richetti played a huge role in crafting the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law with since-retired Sen. Robert Portman, R-Ohio, according to POLITICO.
Shalanda Young is no stranger to complicated negotiations with Congress. Currently the Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Biden administration, Young has a deep background in congressional appropriations.
Young was previously a staff director on the House Appropriations Committee, where she drew widespread bipartisan praise for her role in negotiating bipartisan funding deals.
She was initially nominated by Biden and confirmed by the Senate in 2021 to serve as the Office of Management and Budget's deputy director, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pushed for her to serve in the office's top role.
"You’ll get my support, maybe for both jobs," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said at the time. "Everybody who deals with you on our side has nothing but good things to say. You might talk me out of voting for you, but I doubt it."
During those hearings, then-Senate President Pro Tem Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., recalled the negotiations which led to the end to a 2019 government shutdown, which lasted for 35 days, praising Young for her role in those talks.
"Fortunately, Shalanda was with us," he said at the time, adding: "We reached a solution. That's what Shalanda is best at. She knows how to work across the aisle to get a deal done."
The Louisiana native is well respected on Capitol Hill, to the point where even her adversaries sing her praises. When a reporter asked Republican negotiator Rep. Patrick McHenry on Monday whether there was a "lack of seriousness" from the White House on negotiations, he quickly dismissed that notion.
“Two-thirds of you know Shalanda Young personally. [Biden] sent warriors up here on behalf of his administration. That’s who he sent up, that’s who we are negotiating with,” said McHenry. “There are a highly credible team. They're a tough negotiating team. These are tough discussions that we're having, but they're honest, we're honest with each other.”
It wouldn't be a negotiation with a Biden staff without representation from Delaware, the birthplace of Louisa Terrell.
A graduate of Tufts University and Boston College Law School, Terrell worked on Biden's Senate staff, later going on to work as a legislative affairs aide to Barack Obama and chief of staff for New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. Outside of government, Terrell worked stints at Yahoo! Inc. and Facebook, as well as the Biden Foundation.
All the while, she gained a reputation as a dealmaker on Capitol Hill.
When Biden took office in 2021, he tapped Terrell to lead the Office of Legislative Affairs, where she was crucial in lobbying support for the the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The North Carolina lawmaker known for his preference for bow ties, and “self-deprecating humor" is one of the top negotiators for Speaker McCarthy as he and the White House try to resolve their differences on the debt limit.
While he once had a reputation as a "bomb thrower" in Congress, McHenry was also one of the key brokers when it came to securing the votes needed for McCarthy to become House Speaker.
When Republicans took back the majority in January, McHenry was made chair of the House Financial Services Committee.
McHenry is in his tenth term representing North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District, located northwest of Charlotte. He has developed a reputation as someone who is well-liked among the different factions of the House GOP conference.
McHenry said he realized the importance of developing relationships with his fellow lawmakers in his second or third term.
“The superpower is being able to have the relationships with everyone, because you never know who is going to matter on any given day, for whatever the policy is," he told Spectrum News in an interview earlier this year. "And the goal is to try to understand their perspective so you can go work with them for a common good.”
Graves, 51, is a key ally of Speaker McCarthy, one who the California Republican described as someone who "understands policy" well.
"Many people would call him a policy wonk," McCarthy said.
"He’s really been the individual that has helped bring people together in crafting the bill itself," McCarthy said of Graves earlier this month. "He has a clear understanding of where members are."
Rep. Dusty Johnson, chair of a group called the Republican Main Street Caucus, describes Graves as a “facilitator” who soothes tensions in meetings.
Graves is serving his fifth term in office representing a congressional district that includes Baton Rouge, which he won with more than 80% of the vote in November. When McCarthy was making his bid to win the House speaker's gavel, Graves was one of the allies often seen meeting with Republican holdouts and working to win them over.
Before joining Congress, Graves served as chair of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana, which led efforts after Hurricane Katrina to protect the state from future hurricanes through improved flood control, restored wetlands and other projects. Before that, he served more than a decade as a congressional staffer, and also advised members in both chambers with stints as a committee aide.
Spectrum News' Reuben Jones and The Associated Press contributed to this report.