President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., “have finally backed off their idea that they won’t negotiate” on the debt ceiling, according to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
“They finally backed off the insane, un-rational, un-sensible idea that you just raise the debt ceiling,” McCarthy said at a joint press conference on Wednesday with Republican lawmakers in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. “The president’s selected two individuals, the [Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young] and [counselor to the president Steve] Ricchetti, to sit down with us, but our timeline is short.”
“This is what I wanted to avoid 105 days ago, and when the Republicans in the House lifted the debt ceiling, [Treasury] Secretary [Janet] Yellen had never told us the deadline was June 1,” McCarthy said. “We wanted to act ahead of time, and we do that issue after issue. Just like the president avoided the border with Title 42, the House Republicans did not.”
McCarthy added, “We actually passed a bill to secure our border. We continue to listen to the American public and I will tell you as speaker, we have a group of Republicans in the Senate that have listened to the American people, as well.”
The House of Representatives on April 26 passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, which aims to “limit federal spending, save taxpayer dollars,” and “grow the economy.” The legislation passed 217-215 in the House, but did not get a single vote from any Democrat.
The House of Representatives passed a bill on May 11 aimed at securing the United States’ southern border and stopping the flood of illegal aliens entering the country, The Daily Signal previously reported.
McCarthy met with Biden; Vice President Kamala Harris; House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.; Schumer; and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. at the White House on Tuesday.
Biden previously met with the four congressional leaders on May 9. Since then, congressional staff have been working every day on a debt ceiling deal, CNBC reported. The president and the four top congressional leaders were supposed to meet this past Friday, but the meeting was postponed.
“Senate Republicans stand united behind Speaker McCarthy and the House Republicans. We all understand the gravity of the situation. We need to address the debt ceiling and we need to do so in a way that makes a difference, to make sure that we’re not back here in just a few more months with spending having caused more inflation and ballooned our federal debt even more,” Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said at the press conference.
“So, to that end 45 Senate Republicans have acknowledged that they will not, they’ve committed that we won’t support cloture. We won’t support bringing debate to a close on any debt ceiling increase that does not contain substantive spending and budgetary reforms,” Lee said. “Now it just so happens the House of Representatives has passed precisely such a bill. We stand behind that bill. We need to pull up and pass that bill. We need to do it today.”
Lee, with the support of other Republican senators, sent a letter earlier this month to Schumer stating that they “will not be voting for cloture on any bill that raises the debt ceiling without substantive spending and budget reforms.”
Following Tuesday’s meeting, McCarthy said “It is possible to get a deal by the end of the week.”
“We had a productive meeting yesterday and with all four leaders of the Congress. It was civil and respectful, and everyone came to the meeting, I think, in good faith,” Biden said at the White House prior to departing for the Group of Seven summit in Japan. “I’m confident that we’ll get the agreement on the budget that America will not default and every leader in the room understands the consequences if we fail to pay our bills and it would be catastrophic for the American economy and the American people if we didn’t pay our bills.”
The president also said, “And to be clear, this negotiation is about the outlines of what the budget will look like, not about whether or not we’re going to in fact pay our debts. The leaders all agree we will not default. Every leader has said that.”
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