McCarthy on debt limit: ‘There will not be a default’

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in an interview on Sunday ahead of talks with President Biden dismissed the idea that the U.S. would default on its debt.

“We’re not going to default,” McCarthy said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “This won’t come to fruition until sometime in June.”

“There will not be a default,” McCarthy added. “But what is really irresponsible is what the Democrats are doing right now, saying we just raise the limit.”

The U.S. hit its technical borrowing limit of around $31.4 trillion earlier this month, but as McCarthy alluded, the Treasury will be able to keep the government’s bills paid until sometime in June. Now, lawmakers must reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling so the government can take on new debt and avoid a default.

But early indications are that Democrats and Republicans are far apart on their demands. The White House and many Democrats want the debt ceiling to be increased with no strings attached. Republicans and a small number of moderate Democrats want the White House to commit to spending cuts before an agreement on the borrowing limit.

“The responsible thing to do is sit down like two adults and start having that discussion,” McCarthy said on CBS.

McCarthy also announced that a much-anticipated meeting with Biden would be held on Wednesday.

While lawmakers quarrel over how to advance, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is sounding the alarm on how harmful a U.S. default would be. She told Axios over the weekend that the country would face an economic crisis and spiral into a deep recession if lawmakers were unable to find a compromise on the debt ceiling.

–Updated at 1:49 p.m.

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