Jan 31, 2023
Biden to Press McCarthy on Debt Limit in First Meeting
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden aims to press House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to commit to preventing the US from defaulting on its debt in a sit-down meeting Wednesday, and to challenge the Republican to release his own detailed spending plan.
Biden’s proposed budget for the 2024 fiscal year — to be released March 9 — will “show how the president plans to invest in America, continue to lower costs for families, protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and reduce the deficit,” National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young wrote in a memo released Tuesday.
“It is essential that Speaker McCarthy likewise commit to releasing a budget, so that the American people can see how House Republicans plan to reduce the deficit,” Deese and Young wrote.
The deadline under US budget laws for Biden to submit a budget proposal is the first Monday in February.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said Republicans plan to produce a budget by April. The GOP has said it plans to have a plan that balances within 10 years — something that would require deep cuts if taxes are not raised.
Biden will use his Wednesday meeting with McCarthy at the White House — the pair’s first in-person session since McCarthy won the speaker’s gavel earlier this month — to ask McCarthy to “commit to the bedrock principle that the United States will never default on its financial obligations,” according to the memo.
McCarthy responded, tweeting, “Mr. President: I received your staff’s memo. I’m not interested in political games. I’m coming to negotiate for the American people.”
Republicans and Democrats are at odds over raising the federal borrowing cap, which is on track to be breached later this year unless Congress acts. McCarthy and many Republicans are demanding spending cuts as a condition of raising the limit; Biden says he’s open to a deal on fiscal reform but that the debt ceiling can’t be a bargaining chip.
“Speaker McCarthy’s unwillingness to-date to taking the threat of default off the table makes him an outlier,” the memo states, noting that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former Presidents Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan have spoken out on the importance of avoiding a US debt default.
--With assistance from Erik Wasson.
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