Biden meet with Congress to discuss debt ceiling

President Joe Biden will meet with congressional leaders to reach an agreement on how to address the looming debt ceiling crisis. 

President Biden, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. R- Ky. will gather in the Oval Office at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. 

Republicans want to raise the limit on the country’s borrowing authority in exchange for spending cuts, while Democrats, including Biden, want to increase the debt limit without any conditions attached. 

The White House has said it is open to discussing spending cuts, but it will not negotiate with Republicans on the debt ceiling and said the GOP has a constitutional responsibility to raise the borrowing limit.

“Those two are totally unrelated. Whether you pay the debt or not doesn’t have a damn thing to do with what your budget is,” Biden said Friday. “They’re two separate issues – two. Let’s get it straight.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the President is willing to have a “separate” conversation about the budget, but the debt ceiling is the number one priority. 

“The fact that there’s a meeting in the Oval Office with the four leaders tomorrow, I think, is an important thing,” Jean-Pierre said during Monday’s press briefing. “I think that shows the American people how important it is, that shows that the president wants to bring them together to have this conversation. The president has been very clear — this is Congress’ constitutional duty to take action, to not default. He’s going to continue to reiterate that, as he should.”

House Speaker McCarthy, however, has been ‘counting the days’ since the last meeting. 

“You know, on February 1st, I went to see the president, sat down with him saying we should work on the debt ceiling, so we wouldn’t get to this, and unfortunately, it’s taken 97 days to finally come back,” McCarthy said. “Hopefully, the attitude’s changed, and we can move forward.”

As of now, Republicans have passed a bill that would significantly reduce spending in exchange for the debt limit. The bill would increase the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion or until the end of March 2024 while cutting spending by $4.5 trillion. Biden has said he will veto the bill in the unlikely event that it would reach his desk, CBS reports

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that the government will run out of money as soon as June 1 unless Congress raises its borrowing limit. Failure to do so would cause an “economic catastrophe.”


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