McCarthy, Biden to Meet About Debt Ceiling as Default Looms

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NICK GILBERTSON 22 May 2023

 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will meet with President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday afternoon for debt ceiling discussions as the United States inches closer to defaulting on its $31.3 trillion debt. 

They will convene around 4:30 p.m., as PunchBowl News founder Jake Sherman noted. Biden and McCarthy agreed to the meeting during a phone call on Sunday before Biden’s departure from Japan, Politico reported. 

It comes after Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) said Republicans would “press pause” on negotiations with Biden’s deputies on Friday. As Breitbart News’s Sean Moran wrote, he “accused the Biden White House of not negotiating in good faith.”

“It’s just unreasonable. Until people are willing to have reasonable conversations about how you can actually move forward and do the right thing, then we’re not going to sit here and talk to ourselves,” he explained.

The next day, White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre issued a press release asserting Republicans put forth an offer Friday night “that was a big step back.”

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., top second from right, is encircled by reporters as he talks about the debt limit negotiations at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, May 22, 2023. McCarthy and President Joe Biden are set to meet in the afternoon at the White House about raising the debt limit. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

However, the two sides resumed talks on Sunday, as Politico reported: 

Negotiators worked Sunday night to set the table for today’s meeting with the White House team — Budget Director SHALANDA YOUNG, Legislative Affairs chief LOUISA TERRELL and counselor STEVE RICCHETTI — traveling to the Capitol for two-and-a-half-hour meeting with GOP Reps. GARRET GRAVES (La.) and PATRICK McHENRY (N.C.).

 White House aides were tight-lipped after the meeting, a sign that the talks remain viable. McCarthy gaggled separately with reporters for nearly 20 minutes, calling his conversation with Biden “productive” and striking a more optimistic tone than earlier in the weekend…

An Associated Press-NORC poll released on Friday found 63 percent of Americans, including majorities of Democrats and Republicans, want the debt ceiling to be raised “only if lawmakers include terms on reducing the federal budget deficit.”

Conversely, only 19 percent want it to be lifted “without conditions,” which was the posture of the Biden Administration for months. 

House Republicans have been calling for spending cuts outside of Social Security and Medicare for months, and weeks ago passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 that would raise the debt limit and reduce spending. It is the only legislation on Capitol Hill that has passed either the House or Senate to prevent a calamitous default. The Congressional Budget Office estimates it would save $4.8 trillion over the next decade.

“The U.S. Treasury has warned it could be unable to pay all its bills as soon as June 1,” Reuters reports

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