McCarthy presses Biden for negotiation meeting as he lays out debt ceiling stance

Kevin McCarthy
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif., speaks to the media at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 2, 2019. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

McCarthy presses Biden for negotiation meeting as he lays out debt ceiling stance

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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is pressing President Joe Biden for a second meeting to negotiate solutions on the debt ceiling crisis, marking the first major action related to the debt limit since the pair entered into a stalemate earlier this year.

McCarthy sent a letter to Biden on Tuesday morning urging the president to schedule a meeting with the Republican leader by the end of this week, accusing Biden of putting the economy “in jeopardy” by refusing to negotiate. Biden has repeatedly said he would meet with McCarthy to talk about it but not until Republicans release their proposed budget for the next fiscal year.

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“Nearly two months ago, you and I sat down to discuss a path forward on the debt limit. Since that time, however, you and your team have been completely missing in action on any meaningful follow-up to this rapidly approaching deadline,” McCarthy wrote. “With each passing day, I am incredibly concerned that you are putting an already fragile economy in jeopardy by insisting upon your extreme position of refusing to negotiate any meaningful changes to out-of-control government spending alongside an increase of the debt limit.”

McCarthy outlined a number of topics he wishes to discuss with Biden, including negotiations on nondefense government spending, unspent COVID-19 funds, and lower energy costs, among other things.

“Taken together, such policies would help address the number one issue facing Americans today: stubbornly high inflation brought on by reckless government spending,” he wrote. “Mr. President, simply put: you are on the clock. It’s time to drop the partisanship, roll up our sleeves, and find common ground on this urgent challenge.”

The letter comes as negotiations between Democrats and Republicans have remained stalled and members of both parties attempt to use the financial crisis to achieve their own priorities. While Republicans seek to negotiate spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, Democrats have remained adamant to pass a clean debt ceiling raise — putting lawmakers at an impasse just months before the looming deadline of a default.

McCarthy initially met with Biden in January to begin negotiations on the debt ceiling, but that meeting ended without a binding agreement as the White House maintains it will not discuss federal spending until the borrowing limit is lifted. Meanwhile, McCarthy has drawn his own line, saying that spending cuts are required.

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Biden has also refused to meet for negotiations until House Republicans release their proposed budget, which GOP lawmakers say has been held back because Biden himself was delayed in releasing his own proposal. Republicans have until April 15 to present their proposed budget, although it’s not clear when lawmakers plan to release it.

The United States hit its debt ceiling on Jan. 19, raising fears of a default. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said her agency would take “extraordinary measures” to prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its obligations, but the department will only have a few months before those measures are exhausted.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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