The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)
Biden, McCarthy to meet, discuss debt ceiling
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.