Biden Meets With House Speaker Kevin McCarthy!
As the debt ceiling deadline approaches, President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met again in the White House on Monday evening. McCarthy said he would talk to the president daily until a solution is reached after the meeting.
McCarthy answered, “There’s nothing agreed to — everything’s being talked about,” when asked if food stamp work requirements were still on the table.
McCarthy hopes they could strike a compromise that Republicans and Democrats could support. He called the conference “more productive” than others.
“We literally talked about where we are having disagreements and ideas,” McCarthy added. That’s productive. “So to me that’s productive. Not progress, but productive.” Mr. Biden said the discussion was “productive.”
The president and speaker agreed to decrease the federal deficit and avoid default at the start of their meeting. The president suggested Congress should examine tax loopholes. McCarthy said they disagree but believe the US debt is too high.
“We’re optimistic we may be able to make some progress,” Mr. Biden added. McCarthy told reporters following the meeting that a clean debt ceiling rise was off the table, even if there was no last-minute accord.
“Let me be clear. No, we’re never putting a clean debt ceiling on the floor,” McCarthy told Capitol reporters. “In the Senate, a clean debt ceiling couldn’t pass. In the House, it can’t pass. So why should we waste time on something that’s not going to pass instead of finding something that is a solution to the problem? We are too close to give up.”
The president cut short his vacation to Asia, arriving from Japan late Sunday night to work on an agreement before the June 1 deadline.
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While the president was on Air Force One returning to Washington, Mr. Biden and McCarthy chatted over the phone, and president and speaker-designated negotiators have been working to establish a framework agreement.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Monday that the U.S. might default on its debt on June 1, though that date could change. Even once the president and McCarthy agree, legislation will take weeks to clear both chambers of Congress.
Hill negotiators took a break on Friday after reaching an impasse. McCarthy tweeted Saturday that the White House was “moving backwards in negotiations,” blaming the “socialist wing of the Democrat Party” for the impasse.
The White House is moving backward in negotiations.
Unfortunately, the socialist wing of the Democrat Party appears to be in control—especially with President Biden out of the country.
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) May 20, 2023
After departing debt ceiling negotiations Monday morning, North Carolina Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry warned reporters that talks are “sensitive.”
A White House official said the speaker and president agreed Tuesday that the final product must be bipartisan. The person said the speaker’s team abandoned specific alternatives towards the end of the week.
The White House official said the speaker’s staff offered a food assistance cut that wasn’t in the House-passed package and annual spending caps three times longer than recent budget accords. McHenry said “not the case” that Republicans are going beyond the House GOP measure.
In Hiroshima, Japan, Mr. Biden said, “now it’s time for the other side to move their extreme positions because much of what they’ve already proposed is simply quite frankly, unacceptable.”
The president told G-7 leaders he couldn’t guarantee the U.S. wouldn’t default on its debt. “I can’t guarantee that they will not force a default by doing something outrageous,” Mr. Biden said of Republicans. McCarthy told reporters Sunday that his meeting with the president “went well.”
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