President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy emerged from a crucial meeting at the White House on Tuesday, but there was no consensus on how to end the impasse over federal debt, with the country meeting its obligations for the first time. I spent just a few weeks before I stopped doing it.
With the economy unbalanced, Mr. Biden called on Congress to raise the debt ceiling unconditionally to avoid a default, and Mr. McCarthy argued such a move would entail severe spending restraints. However, the two agreed to have their aides meet later in the day and meet again on Friday.
The Oval Office sessions, the first meeting in three months between a Democratic president and a Republican chairman, will play out over the next few weeks as the country scrambles for a pre-election deadline of June 1. It was the opening act of the expected drama. Not authorized to pay debts. Neither side expected the meeting to produce a breakthrough, and it did not. Instead, it was a chance for both sides to place markers for a success-or-fail debate.
“I made it clear at the meeting that default is not an option,” Mr. Biden said after the meeting in the Oval Office. “I’ve done that over and over again. America is not a deadbeat nation. We pay our bills and avoid defaults is a basic duty of the U.S. Congress.”
But he added: “I am ready to start another discussion about budgets and spending priorities, but not under threat of default.”
Speaking to reporters as he left the White House, McCarthy said the two sides were still at odds. “We didn’t see any new moves,” he said. He added that he had asked Biden “many times” if there was room for cuts in the federal budget. “They gave me nothing,” he said.
In one potential sign of progress, the two sides agreed to spend as early as Tuesday night for the rest of the week to discuss a possible agreement on spending levels for next year’s bill to fund government operations. It was agreed that the staff would meet daily for the duration of It’s kind of like the broader fiscal deal that Mr. Biden said he would discuss.
However, Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and New York State Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who attended the meeting, argued that such debates should not be tied to raising the debt ceiling, saying that the tactics said it was irresponsible to jeopardize the nation’s fiscal health and economic well-being. advantage.
“There will be some things we can agree on and some things we can compromise on,” Mr. Schumer said of federal spending. But he said it would have to be done separately, not as part of debt ceiling negotiations, upholding White House policy.
The federal government has already hit the statutory $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, and the Treasury Department said it may run out of fiscal means to avoid breach by the end of the month. If that happens without an agreement by Congress, the country will be unable to meet its obligations to pay for previously approved spending, analysts say, which could send an economic shock wave to economies at home and around the world, triggering a recession. says there is. It puts millions out of work.
Both the White House and Mr. McCarthy have dismissed the idea of raising the short-term debt ceiling to give more time for debate, but time is running out. The speaker told reporters in the Capitol that he believes congressional leaders and Mr. Biden will need to reach a deal by next week to pass legislation to raise the debt ceiling by early June.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican minority leader in the Senate, accompanied McCarthy and backed his position, arguing that the president has an obligation to compromise with the Republican-held House. However, in his opening comments about the White House driveway, he stressed his commitment to avoiding a default and hinted at his trepidation during the debate. It means the United States will not default on its debt,” he said. “It has never been and never will be.”
Democrats used the remarks to try to isolate Mr. McCarthy, suggesting that only Mr. McCarthy would risk defaulting on his debts. But the chairman said he was the only one to actually pass an increase in the debt ceiling, citing legislation linking such increases to spending caps and other measures.
He argued that Mr. Biden was acting irresponsibly by not agreeing to any compromises, highlighting the president’s refusal to see him for 97 days. I hope so,” McCarthy said. “I hope the president understands that as the leader of this country, you cannot hold this country hostage. For the American people, we were very reasonable.”
Mr. Biden accused Mr. McCarthy of waiting until late April to pass a bill to raise the cap. The President asked, “What is the validity of the public debt of the United States as authorized by law?” He said Lawrence H. Tribe, a longtime Harvard Law School professor, he changed his mind As to whether the president has such powers.
However, he indicated that the solution might not work in the short term. “It will be,” he said.
complicating the schedule even more. The president will fly to Japan next week to attend a G7 summit before going to a security summit in Australia. Biden told reporters after the meeting that the debate over the debt ceiling was “the most important thing on the agenda” so it was “unlikely” that the visit would have to be scaled back or skipped. Stated.
Investors fear that the federal government will default on its debts and begin to fall behind in payments to government employees, social security beneficiaries and others. Markets can become more and more confusing.
No deal was reached on Tuesday, but Biden, in nearly 20 minutes of remarks and questions from reporters Tuesday night, showed he was open to some of the Republican demands, but the debt burden was still there. He said he was “more” optimistic that it would find a way around the default. fiscal policy.
Importantly, that openness includes a Republican move to withdraw some of the Covid-19 Pandemic Relief Funds that have not yet been spent after being approved by Congress in 2021, according to the report, which is “under consideration.” It contained a statement. The clawback was a relatively minor but symbolically important part of the Republican debt relief bill that passed the House last month. It was the first time I made a statement.
Still, Mr. Biden spent most of his comment criticizing the drastic and vague spending cuts in the Republican bill. McCarthy defended himself and his team by arguing that the Republican bill would cut popular items such as veterans’ benefits.
“I doubt they know exactly what they are proposing,” the president said.
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