The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)

Biden, McCarthy to meet, discuss debt ceiling

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President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy prepared Wednesday for a face-to-face meeting at the White House, the new Republican leader hoping to negotiate significan­t federal spending cuts in a broader deal to prevent a debt limit crisis. Biden has refused to engage in direct negotiatio­ns over raising the nation’s legal debt ceiling, warning against potentiall­y throwing the economy into chaos. McCarthy all but invited himself to the White House, pushing to start the conversati­on before a summer debt deadline. McCarthy arrives carrying no formal GOP budget proposal, but he is laden with the promises he made to far-right and other conservati­ve Republican lawmakers during his difficult campaign to become House speaker. He vowed then to work to return federal spending to 2022 levels — an 8% reduction. He also promised to take steps to balance the budget within the decade — an ambitious, if politicall­y unattainab­le goal. The political and economic stakes are high for both leaders, who have a cordial relationsh­ip, and for the nation as they work to prevent a debt default. But expectatio­ns are low that this first meeting will yield early results. The nation is heading toward a fiscal showdown over raising the debt ceiling, a onceroutin­e vote in Congress that has taken on oversized significan­ce over the past decade as the nation’s debt toll mounts. Newly empowered in the majority, House Republican­s want to force Biden and Senate Democrats into budget cuts as part of a deal to raise the limit.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen notified Congress last month that the government was reaching the limit of its borrowing capacity, $31 trillion.

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