House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is leading debt ceiling negotiations with Democrats, but some Republicans are concerned about his lack of experience in high-stakes talks. McCarthy has largely been sidelined during previous talks, and his newness to the negotiations leaves Washington without a decoder ring for his public vows that a deal is still possible. McCarthy’s resume lacks the committee leadership spots that gave his predecessors more chances to work with Democrats, and many of the House GOP’s deal-seeking former chairs have retired. However, multiple Republicans interviewed for this story said that McCarthy’s greatest asset in his talks with Biden is the surprising amount of cohesion among his members after a 15-ballot ordeal of a speaker race. Some House Republicans are pushing McCarthy not to compromise at all, which is sparking concern among battleground-seat colleagues. Ultimately, if Republicans vote no, McCarthy would be reliant on Democrats to pass the debt limit increase. Democrats say they have little trust in McCarthy to land a workable debt agreement. “I don’t have much confidence in Kevin McCarthy on anything other than letting the Marjorie Taylor Greene wing of their party continue to pull his strings,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.).

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