BIDEN, McCARTHY TO MEET AS DEBT TALKS CONTINUE
June 1 deadline looms, Treasury warns
The President and House Speaker will meet Monday to resume talks aimed at finding a solution to the looming risk of a national debt default and the potentially catastrophic consequences of the U.S. government not paying its bills.
President Biden, according to the White House, on Sunday returned early from an abbreviated trip to Asia where he was attending a meeting of the G7. Biden cut the trip short amid ongoing negotiations on how the nation will see its borrowing limit raised.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, whose party is demanding spending cuts to go along with any increased debt allowance, spoke to Biden by phone as the President made his way back to Washington and arranged to meet the commander-in-chief at the White House first thing Monday morning.
“I think we can solve some of these problems if he understands what we’re looking at,” McCarthy told reporters after the call, “But I’ve been very clear to him from the very beginning. We have to spend less money than we spent last year.”
The Speaker’s optimistic tone was tempered somewhat by his assertion that “there’s no agreement on anything.”
That’s along the lines of the message Biden was delivering as he left Japan, where he said that McCarthy’s holding the debt limit hostage to force spending cuts was a nonstarter.
“It’s time for Republicans to accept that there is no deal to be made solely, solely, on their partisan terms,” he said in Hiroshima. “Now it’s time for the other side to move from their extreme position.”
Time is short to negotiate a deal on the debt ceiling, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, with the nation’s coffers set to run dry as soon as June 1.
“The odds of reaching June 15, while being able to pay all of our bills, is quite low,” Yellen said on NBC.
The GOP is demanding dramatic spending cuts to go along with any legislation that would raise the nation’s borrowing limit, which was increased without precondition three times under former President Donald Trump.
Under the Republican approved plan, spending in 2024 and for the next ten years would be capped at 2022 levels, some Medicaid recipients would see work requirements for aid, food assistance would be cut and the broader federal bureaucracy shrunk, with carve outs for veterans and military spending.
Continued talks come as some Democrats in Congress are calling on the president to go around lawmakers and raise the borrowing limit on his own using the 14th Amendment. Biden, in Asia, indicated he’s not sure that would work.
“That’s a question that I think is unresolved,” Biden said.
Raising the debt limit would not authorize any new spending, but would allow the U.S. government to meet fiscal obligations already approved by Congress and signed into law by a president.
Biden has maintained from the beginning of this Congress that he would not negotiate on the debt limit but would negotiate with a Republican spending plan, which they have not yet offered.