GEOFF BENNETT: It is Friday, and we turn now to the analysis of Brooks and Capehart.
That's New York Times columnist David Brooks, and Jonathan Capehart, associate editor for The Washington Post.
Great to see you both.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Hey, Geoff.
GEOFF BENNETT: So, lawmakers now have an additional four days to arrive at a deal on the debt ceiling.
The Treasury secretary said that the agency, the department won't run out of money until at least June 5, so buying more time for those debt talks.
The previous deadline, of course, was June 1.
I want to start with your assessments of where we stand now.
Starting with you, David.
DAVID BROOKS: I will stick with Biden, optimistic.
Compared to where we were a week ago when we were sitting here, and they were possibly on pause, we're in a much better place, obviously, today.
Everybody seems to be having productive talks.
And this is why it pays to be a history major.
(LAUGHTER) DAVID BROOKS: I was a history major.
And you know they have had dozens and dozens of these things every -- over the last few decades.
And, every time, they scare something out of us, and then they cut a deal, and it looks like they're probably going to do that again.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Yes.
GEOFF BENNETT: How do you see it?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Yes, I want to be that optimistic.
But I do want to just point one thing out, that the letter that the Treasury secretary put out today saying that June 5 is the date, that is the first time she has settled on a firm date.
Her letters previously were saying, please, Congress, lift the debt ceiling.
If you don't, we could possibly crash through by -- in sometime early June, the earliest, June 1.
Today's letter is June 5.
And she explains why, in terms of tax receipts that would come in on a daily basis to the Treasury.
So, it buys a little more time.
But with the president saying, hey, I'm optimistic, we might have some evidence of a -- something later tonight, that's good news, I hope.
(LAUGHTER) GEOFF BENNETT: One can hope.
There is this additional complication of far right Republicans saying that they won't support any compromise that waters down the bill that the House already passed, that bill that was unacceptable to Senate Democrats and to the White House.
How significant a threat is that, given the razor-thin margins and the fact that Kevin McCarthy can only lose four Republican votes and still have this pass?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, well, that's really not how democracy works.
When you cut a deal, you definitely have to give some.
I -- he sounds pretty confident.
I know Chip Roy, one of the members of the Freedom Caucus, said they weren't going to challenge his speakership.
And so that suggests that there may be some upset with the compromises he's taken, but not uproar and rage.
And so I think he will probably be able to get it.
I think, as I understand that -- they haven't announced the deal, but as I understand it, there's going to be a headline number of how much deficit reduction there's going to be, and that's likely to be a pretty big number.
And then they will punt on exactly how they're going to get there.
And so that fudginess gives McCarthy the chance to say, we're going to cut the deficit, but not make anybody unhappy because nobody knows exactly what's going to get cut.
So I suspect he will probably get it.
GEOFF BENNETT: On the Democratic side, the House minority leader, Hakeem Jeffries, says that he communicated to the White House that if they need Democratic votes to get this across the finish line -- and it appears that they will -- that Democrats don't want to compromise on their values.
And there has been this flash point over the issue of work requirements for some federal safety net programs.
Here's how Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican speaker, referred to it.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I do not think it's right that you borrow money from China to pay people to stay home that are able-bodied with no dependents on the couch.
GEOFF BENNETT: So President Biden has said that he supported work requirements for these safety net programs back in the '90s.
So why is this a nonstarter for Democrats now?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: But that was the '90s, Geoff.
That was 30 years ago.
We were talking about different work requirements then.
And I think it's insulting and offensive for the speaker of the House to talk about people who are getting federal benefits, to paint them with a broad brush, to say that they're just sitting on their couches, sitting home.
That's -- that just isn't the case.
And I do think that Democrats have been fighting a phantom, just work requirements.
We have no idea what they're talking about and what could emerge in terms of work requirements.
But if that is the one thing, the only thing where Democrats are drawing their red line, and everything else is something that they could possibly live with, I would say Democrats are in a much better position to get something over the finish line than Speaker McCarthy, as you pointed out, can only lose four Republicans.
You have got the House Freedom Caucus sending letters, saying, you better pass the -- I can never remember the name of it.
I call it the eat, pray, love bill.
(LAUGHTER) JONATHAN CAPEHART: You better pass that, and only that.
It's the speaker who has got to get this over the finish line, and he can't without Democratic votes.
DAVID BROOKS: Can I just do a little '90s nostalgia?
(LAUGHTER) DAVID BROOKS: Because I did think the Clinton welfare reforms were quite successful, in part because of welfare work environments.
And I have sort of been pushed on this issue by the evidence that, in theory, these people who are on these benefits are -- they are working hard.
They're working hard to make their family work.
They're working hard to try to get a job.
But I have been persuaded that it's really hard, once you have been out of labor force for three or four years, to get back into the labor force.
And, therefore, long term, for the good of people and for the good of the economy, work requirements actually are something that actually does benefit those who are subjected to them.
GEOFF BENNETT: Yes.
Well, this past week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Senator Tim Scott announced their presidential campaigns, and it in many ways showcased two different Republican parties.
You have Tim Scott, who you could argue is following in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan with an ideas-focused, optimistic vision of the country, and Ron DeSantis, who is very much in the mold of Donald Trump, going all in on the cultural issues.
David, DeSantis' announcement, of course, was on Twitter Spaces.
As we have reported, it was marred by technical glitches.
But in the first 24 hours after that announcement, he raised more than $8 million for his campaign.
What did you make of his message and his unorthodox decision to announce it on Twitter with Elon Musk?
DAVID BROOKS: Well, first, part of his problem is that he's too Twitter-focused at all.
I mean, Twitter, as we -- as some people understand, is not real life and not real America.
And too many of his issues, the woke mind virus, those are good Twitter issues.
I don't think they're good average American issues.
Like, bread-and-butter issues are good average American.
But he is, I think, too obsessed with Twitter.
Second, his campaign has a problem, which was that he's not very good with people.
And, therefore, if you look at the early ads, if you look at why he did Twitter, it's not the normal thing a candidate does while announcing their campaign, which is like to be around other human beings.
And, third, why is he running?
I mean, there was a lot of verbiage in that announcement, but what specifically is he running to do?
You can't run for president, as Ted Kennedy learned many years ago, if you don't have a crisp answer to that question, and he didn't really have one, at least so far.
GEOFF BENNETT: And, Jonathan, following that Twitter rollout, he gave a series of interviews to conservative media.
And it's clear that he's no longer tiptoeing around Donald Trump.
He attacked Trump as fiscally irresponsible, a supporter of amnesty for undocumented immigrants.
He said Trump's COVID-19 mitigation policies - - quote -- "destroyed millions of people's lives."
And then he added this: GOV.
RON DESANTIS (R-FL), Presidential Candidate: I will tell you, I don't know what happened to Donald Trump.
This is a different guy today than when he was running in 2015 and 2016.
And I think the direction that he's going with his campaign is the wrong direction.
GEOFF BENNETT: So, this question of sharpening his attacks against Donald Trump was really just a matter of when.
What do you make of the way that he's doing it?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: With Governor DeSantis, it's great, it's real nice to have that sharp language in an interview with someone in a friendly forum.
I want to hear him say those exact words on the debate stage in August, standing next to Donald Trump, and then watch him respond to the dragon fire that's going to come back in response.
The governor is trying to show, like: Hey, I'm a -- the policy-focused, substantive person.
And that might be great in -- to get the Republican primary voter, but it's disastrous on the national level.
And I keep going back to that six-week abortion ban he signed into law in Florida.
He wants to turn America into Florida.
And folks are looking at Florida and saying, I'm not so sure about that.
GEOFF BENNETT: Well, on that point, he also talked about how he has really extended the power of the governorship in Florida in a way that has not been done before.
And he talked about his plans to flex the powers of the presidency like never before.
He said that he has studied the U.S. Constitution.
He has studied the leverage points of the Constitution and would use his knowledge to exercise the true scope of presidential power.
DAVID BROOKS: Studying the U.S. Constitution?
Nobody's thought of that before.
Well, he -- well, first, what he should run on is: I was a successful governor of Florida.
That should be his story.
And so I think he's not wrong to focus on Florida, because he's a wildly popular governor in Florida.
Whether he expands the power of the presidency, well, I have to say he would be a long line.
In my career of covering journalism, every single president I have covered has expanded the powers of the presidency, sometimes to dangerous effect.
We are supposed to be -- we're not a government of equal branches.
We're a government of Congress is supposed to be the lead branch.
And so -- but to say you want to do that, to me, is to distort the U.S. government even further than it's been distorted over the last 50 years.
GEOFF BENNETT: And what was your assessment of Tim Scott's announcement this past week and the endorsement from John Thune, the number two Republican in the Senate?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Sure.
He's going to apply the -- occupy the happy warrior lane.
It's just a matter of whether the Republican Party faithful want a happy warrior, or they want the warrior, Donald Trump.
And, right now, if you look at the polling, it's clear who they want.
DAVID BROOKS: I thought the Thune presence was significant, because he is -- he's a conservative Republican in the pre-Trump mold, and it's a signal, his presence was a signal that the - - that -- what we think of as the mainstream non-Republican Party, they're moving to Scott.
And that could be significant if DeSantis continues to wane.
There really is a lane for a non-Trump somewhere.
GEOFF BENNETT: Yes.
DAVID BROOKS: And Scott, right now, people don't appreciate it, but I think he's actually the most likely to be the -- that person.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Great.
GEOFF BENNETT: And the Thune endorsement was quite a signal to the Republican establishment and the donor class.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Yes.
GEOFF BENNETT: David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart, have a great long Memorial Day holiday weekend.
(LAUGHTER) JONATHAN CAPEHART: Thanks, Geoff.