Biden and McCarthy set to meet over debt ceiling
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has agreed to meet with President Joe Biden over debt ceiling negotiations with less than a month to strike a deal.
The California Republican is expected to meet with Biden at the White House on Friday, according to NBC News. The meeting comes after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday that the U.S. could run out of money to pay its bills by June 1.
In a letter to McCarthy, Yellen wrote, “our best estimate is that we will be unable to continue to satisfy all of the government’s obligations by early June, and potentially as early as June 1, if Congress does not raise or suspend the debt limit before that time.”
McCarthy responded to Yellen, saying House Republicans had done their job by passing a bill that includes spending cuts to raise the debt ceiling. The speaker, who visited Israel this week as part of a bipartisan congressional delegation, said Biden and the Senate “need to get to work — and soon.”
“House Republicans did their job and passed a responsible bill that raises the debt ceiling, avoids default, and tackles reckless spending,” McCarthy said in a statement. “Meanwhile, President Biden has refused to do his job — threatening to bumble our nation into its first ever default — and the clock is ticking.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that Biden is “prepared to talk about budget and appropriations process” but that raising the debt ceiling was not negotiable.
“The president said he’s happy to meet with McCarthy but not on whether or not the debt limit gets extended,” she said.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, called negotiations “a bit of a game of chicken to see, all right, who’s going to blink to make sure that we’re able to get all the things we want to get done.”
Romney told KSL he supported the Republican position to rein in spending and wanted Biden to agree to doing so before the debt ceiling would be raised.
“Fortunately, the Republicans in the House have passed a measure,” Romney said. “It raises the debt ceiling, it calls for a reduction in spending as well and it’s time for the president to say, ‘all right, let’s sit down and negotiate.’ Because when you have divided government — Republicans have one branch, the White House, another — you have to have compromise.”
Romney said the U.S. not raising its debt ceiling is “something which is very frightening to people in the world of commerce and frankly, our allies around the world.”
“It means at that point, the United States of America could no longer send out any checks,” Romney said. “That means Social Security checks could not be sent out after that date. It means checks to our soldiers that are defending our country would not be sent out.”
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported on a secret plan initiated by House Democrats in January that would force a vote on raising the debt ceiling. It would need the support of at least five Republicans and all Democrats to pass.