Marjorie Taylor Greene pays $100,000 for a CHAPSTICK used by Kevin McCarthy in a bizarre

Republicans took part in a bizarre fundraising auction on Tuesday as bickering lawmakers remain unable to strike a debt deal to avert a catastrophic U.S. default.

An unprecedented failure by the government to pay its debt would send interest rates spiraling, weakening the dollar. 

It would also force a nationwide shutdown of Federal authorities. 

Congress and the White House are battling to find an agreement on the $31-trillion debt spending cap, which limits how much the U.S. can borrow. 

Yet GOP lawmakers appeared unperturbed as they took part in the 15-minute fundraiser at their weekly behind-closed-doors meeting.

Greene bid $100,000 for a chapstick once used by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Greene bid $100,000 for a chapstick once used by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Ukraine-bashing Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene splashed out an eye-watering $100,000 on a chapstick used by California Republican Kevin McCarthy.

The 48-year-old, who parrots pro-Russian talking points about Vladimir Putin’s invasion, placed the winning bid after McCarthy offered to dine with the winner and any supporters of their choice. 

The pair have struck up an extremely close friendship since the Georgia lawmaker backed McCarthy’s bid for the position of House Speaker.

 ‘I’m honored to be able to donate $100,000 to the [National Republican Congressional Committee] to help Republicans increase our majority in 2024 and defeat the Democrats. My constituents will be honored to host a visit with Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who we all think is doing a great job,’ Greene said in a statement. 

A debt default could see social security payments delayed, investments drop and mortgage rates soar

Other members who bid included Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.) and Jason Smith (R-Mo.).

Democrats hit out at the fundraising stunt after the U.S. Treasury said a deal must be agreed before June 1 to avoid default, a date disputed by some Republicans.

‘They [are] doing this insane chapstick shit while the country teeters on default. Wild,’ tweeted hard-Left firebrand Ilhan Omar, a Democratic Congresswoman representing Minnesota.

It came as negotiators for President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy traded more budget-cutting ideas at the Capitol Tuesday.

But Republicans warned of a ‘lack of urgency’ at the White House to resolve the standoff in time to avert a potentially chaotic federal default.

‘We’re not there yet,’ McCarthy said at the Capitol, reiterating he won’t bring any bill forward ‘that doesn’t spend less than we spent this year.’

He told reporters the teams are eyeing ‘creative’ ways of rolling back spending that all sides can accept.

‘I believe we can still get there — and get there before June 1,’ McCarthy, R-Calif., said at midday.

Dragging into a third week, the negotiations over raising the nation’s debt limit, now at $31 trillion, were never supposed to arrive at this point — a crisis in the making.

From the White House, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said it was ‘ridiculous’ to suggest Biden wasn’t acting with urgency. ‘He wants to see this done as soon as possible,’ she said.

The White House insisted early on it was unwilling to barter over the need to pay the nation’s bills, demanding that Congress simply lift the ceiling as it has done many times before with no strings attached.

But the newly elected speaker urged the president at an Oval Office meeting in February to come to the negotiating table on a budget package that would reduce spending to reduce ballooning deficits in the post-COVID era in exchange for the vote to allow future debt.

Both men said after a crucial meeting late Monday at the White House — after the president returned from the Group of Seven summit in Japan — that talks were productive.

But with time short to strike a deal, they are laboring to come up with a compromise that could be approved quickly by the Republican House and the Democratic Senate and be signed into law.

Negotiations are focused on finding agreement over a 2024 budget year limit.

Republicans have set aside their demand to rollback spending to 2022 levels, but say that next year’s government spending must be less than it is now. 

The White House instead is offering to freeze spending at current 2023 numbers.

‘We are holding firm to the speaker’s red line,’ said a top Republican negotiator, Representative Garret Graves of Louisiana.

‘Which is that we will not do a deal unless it spends less money than we’re spending this year,’ he added.

The White House continues to argue that deficits can be reduced by ending tax breaks for wealthier households and some corporations.

But McCarthy said he told the president at their February meeting that raising revenue from tax hikes is off the table.

The negotiators are now also debating the duration of a 1% cap on annual spending growth going forward, with Republicans dropping their demand for a 10-year cap to six years, but the White House offering only one year, for 2025.

Typically, the debt ceiling has been lifted for the duration of a budget deal, and in this negotiation the White House is angling for a two-year agreement that would push past the presidential elections.

Another main Republican negotiator, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, who joined the speaker at the Oval Office Monday evening, said, ‘What I sense from the White House is a lack of urgency.’

But on the Senate side, Republican leader Mitch McConnell said, ‘Look, I think everybody needs to relax.’

Traveling in his home state of Kentucky, McConnell said of the back and forth, ‘This is not that unusual.’

However, time is growing short. The House speaker promised lawmakers he will abide by the rule to post any bill for 72 hours before voting, making any action doubtful until the weekend — just days before the potential deadline. The Senate would also have to pass the package before it could go to Biden’s desk to be signed.

McCarthy faces a hard-right flank in his own party that is likely to reject any deal, and that has led some Democrats to encourage Biden to resist any compromise with the Republicans and simply invoke the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling on his own, an unprecedented and legally fraught action the president has resisted for now.

On Tuesday, the leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus Rep. Scott Perry said: ‘We all want to stick together. But again, it’s sticking together around the right thing.’

He and others are skeptical of the June 1 deadline that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said is when ‘it is highly likely’ the government will be unable to pay all the nation’s bills.

Treasury said Tuesday it is keeping in close contact with federal agencies on their planned spending as it monitors cashflows.

As the negotiators focus on the $100 billion-plus difference between the 2022 and 2023 spending plans as a place to cut, other priorities Republicans are pushing as part of the deal remain on the table.

Republicans also want to beef up work requirements for government aid to recipients in the Medicaid health care program, though the Biden administration has countered that millions of people could lose coverage.

The GOP additionally wants new cuts to food aid by restricting states’ ability to waive work requirements in places with high joblessness. But Democrats have said any changes to work requirements are nonstarters.

GOP lawmakers are also seeking cuts in IRS funding and, by sparing defense and veterans accounts from reductions, would shift the bulk of spending reductions to other federal programs.

The White House has countered by keeping defense and nondefense spending flat next year, which would save $90 billion in the 2024 budget year and $1 trillion over 10 years.

All sides have been eyeing the potential for the package to include a framework to ease federal regulations and speed energy project developments. 

They are all but certain to claw back some $30 billion in unspent COVID-19 funds now that the pandemic emergency has officially lifted.

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