The negotiators hammering out a debt ceiling deal

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young; Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.); Louisa Terrell, White House legislative affairs director; and Steve Ricchetti, counselor to President Biden. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post; Alex Wong/Getty Images; Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg News/Getty Images; Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg News; composite by The Washington Post)

Talks over the debt ceiling appear to be moving toward an agreement, with President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sounding more confident that they can close a deal before a looming June 1 deadline.

After a Tuesday meeting in the Oval Office with Biden and all four top leaders from the House and Senate, the pool of people directly negotiating a deal is getting smaller. That puts McCarthy and his aides in position to negotiate directly with Biden and the White House.

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Biden has tapped Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, top adviser Steve Ricchetti and Office of Legislative Affairs Director Louisa Terrell to handle the talks. Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) and staffers for McCarthy are representing the House GOP.

Here’s who the negotiators are:

Shalanda Young

The White House budget director, Young enters the discussions with strong relationships across Capitol Hill. She came to OMB after a long career working for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, including as staff director. She was heavily involved in resolving the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, in 2019, and managing some of the early relief packages at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Steve Ricchetti

Ricchetti also brings close ties with Democrats and Republicans. A key part of Biden’s inner circle, Ricchetti played a critical role in the administration’s negotiations on the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law, and he’s seen as one of the few White House aides trusted to speak on behalf of the president.

Louisa Terrell

As the director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, Terrell is also involved in the talks. She has had a major role in the Biden administration’s agenda, from infrastructure to climate to gun safety issues, acting largely as an ambassador to Congress. She previously worked in legislative affairs during the Obama administration and was the founding executive director of the Biden Foundation.

Garret Graves

The Louisiana Republican was first elected to Congress in 2015 and has emerged as McCarthy’s right-hand man on the debt ceiling. He has been instrumental in rallying various, often clashing GOP factions behind the Republican bill to raise the debt ceiling. Graves is also the go-to for corralling the “five families” that make up the House GOP.

McCarthy staffers

McCarthy’s staff has been instrumental in crafting the bill the House passed last month. Now, his aides will be keeping direct talks between the House speaker and president moving. Last week, McCarthy’s office announced that chief of staff Dan Meyer will be leaving the role, though not until after the debt ceiling negotiations are resolved. Deputy chief of staff for policy Brittan Specht has also been working on the talks.

Marianna Sotomayor and Leigh Ann Caldwell contributed to this report.

What to know about the U.S. debt ceiling

The latest: On Friday, Congressional Republicans and the White House were still racing to avoid a catastrophic default. If the debt ceiling isn’t raised by the deadline, here’s what a government default means and the payments at risk. Here are the negotiators hammering out a debt ceiling deal.

Understanding the debt ceiling fight: Biden and the House Republican leadership are on a collision course over the national debt limit. In this comic, see how hitting the debt ceiling could unleash chaos. Here’s when the debt ceiling battle could end.

What is at stake? Invoking the 14th Amendment to dodge the debt limit is risky, White House officials say. If the debt limit is breached, Biden warned that it could send the U.S. economy into a free fall. The debt ceiling breach could wipe out 8 million jobs, a recent analysis found. Amid consumer anxiety over the uncertainty, financial experts warn against making fear-based decisions.