This week in politics: US hits debt ceiling; Biden has 'no regrets' for delay in telling public of documents
President Joe Biden began this week in Georgia, giving a speech Sunday morning at the church of Martin Luther King, Jr. He traveled again Thursday to California, where massive storms have devastated the west coast. But meanwhile, scrutiny for the president continued, as new details about classified documents found in Biden’s private home and office raised more questions.
News from the Hill this week included some controversial committee assignments, along with growing contention over the debt ceiling. Lawmakers will need to come to an agreement on this limit, before the government is forced to default on payments. But House Republicans are holding out for spending cut negotiations.
The House and Senate will both be back in session by the start of next week.
Stay in the conversation on politics: Sign up for the OnPolitics newsletter
What happened this week in politics?
Biden’s document drama grew, with the discovery of more classified pages last weekend and the White House’s tight-lipped response. On Thursday, Biden said he had "no regrets" that he didn’t reveal the discovery of classified documents when they were found at his former personal office – shortly before the November election.
The federal government hit its debt limit Thursday, and the Treasury began “extraordinary measures” to delay default for another few months.
GOP representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar are back on House committees after being ousted by the previous Congress.
Rep. George Santos was also seated on committees amid growing calls for his resignation.
A months-long Supreme Court probe came up short: investigators said Thursday they were unable to determine who leaked a draft of the decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
Biden's document controversy raises more questions
Biden was in Georgia Sunday morning at the church once led by Martin Luther King, Jr. to deliver a speech in honor of the federal holiday.
"The battle for the soul of this nation is perennial. It's a constant struggle. It's a constant struggle between hope and fear, kindness and cruelty, justice and injustice, against those who traffic in racism, extremism and insurrection," Biden told the congregation of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
This was Biden's first time back in Georgia since last January for the holiday in 2022. He did not make an appearance in the state ahead of the midterm elections or the Senate runoff.
By Monday, the president had returned to Washington, D.C. and the controversy swirling around his possession of classified documents. After additional pages were discovered in his Delaware home over the weekend, Biden's attorney said they cannot guarantee investigators will not still find more documents.
The issue has opened Biden up to criticism from Republicans claiming a double standard between this incident and former President Donald Trump's own document dealings.
A wider problem: Missing classified records not uncommon
What does this mean for Biden: Ultra conservatives named to House committees leading probes into the administration.
U.S. hit its debt ceiling
The federal government hit its debt ceiling Thursday, raising concerns about economic fallout. The limit refers to the maximum amount Congress can spend on existing obligations, such as Social Security and military salaries. Lawmakers now must agree to raise the limit or else the government will be forced to default on its bills, something that has never happened before.
In her latest letter to congressional leaders, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen outlined the "extraordinary measures" her department is taking to keep the government afloat until Congress reaches a deal. But such an agreement seems unlikely anytime soon, with House Republicans withholding their support for raising the limit without the promise of massive spending cuts.
Democrats in Congress and the Biden administration say they will not negotiate on the debt ceiling.
"This is the duty of Congress. This is something that is their basic duty to deal with the debt ceiling … It should not be used as a political football," said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a briefing Tuesday.
"Fringe" Republicans named to committees
House Republicans reinstated Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Tuesday, after the previous Congress removed her in response to a series of menacing social media posts. Greene will have a seat on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, the panel leading an investigation into the Biden administration, along with the Homeland Security Committee.
Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar had previously lost his committee seat after posting an animated video depiction of him attacking Biden and New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. With Republicans back in control, Gosar was named to the Committee on Natural Resources.
Greene and Gosar's return came as little surprise, given that Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy had promised to do so ahead of his election to speaker.
More controversial, though, was freshman Rep. George Santos' appointment to two minor committees, one on small business and science, the other space and technology. The embattled congressman will take both seats while calls for his resignation grow louder and come even from his side of the aisle over lies during his campaign.
George Santos: Embattled Rep. pushes back on 'insane' claim he stole funds for veteran's dying dog
'We're going first no matter what': NH governor rules out idea of moving presidential primary
International politics: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stepping down over burnout
Trump 2024: Is Trump returning to Facebook and Instagram? He has formally petitioned Meta to lift bans
Poll: Americans don't expect divided government to accomplish much
Contributing: Maureen Groppe
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Debt ceiling debate, Biden and classified documents, more this week