Debt limit 2023: Joe Biden, Kevin McCarthy to discuss Wednesday

The Speaker also pledged that cuts to Social Security and Medicare would be “indisputable”.

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Sunday he looks forward to discussing with President Joe Biden a “reasonable and responsible way we can lift the debt ceiling” when the two meet. on Wednesday in their first meeting at the White House since McCarthy took office. elected to office.

McCarthy, R-Calif., said he wants to tackle spending cuts along with debt limit increases, though the White House has ruled out linking those two issues together as the government tries to avoid default. finance is potentially devastating.

The speaker pledged that cuts to Social Security and Medicare would not be taken into account.

“I know the president says he doesn’t want any discussion (about cuts), but I think it’s very important that our entire government is designed to seek compromise, ‘ McCarthy told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I want to sit down together, figure out an agreement we can work towards that puts us on a balanced path and doesn’t put any of our debt in jeopardy at the same time. .”

When asked if he would give a guarantee, McCarthy said, “There will be no default,” although he said that statement depends on the negotiating goodwill of Biden and the Democrats.

After McCarthy revealed the upcoming meeting in a televised interview, the White House released the confirmation.

McCarthy was elected speaker in a historic vote after midnight on the 15th in the early hours of January 7, overcoming the grip of his own ranks and the tensions that have tested the majority’s ability to govern. new GOP number.

News of the long-awaited meeting at the White House comes at a time when the government is divided in Washington with a debt ceiling crisis brewing and House Republicans ready to confront.

McCarthy has been eager to push Biden to the negotiating table, hoping to make good on promises the GOP leader made during his campaign to be a keynote speaker to cut federal spending back to levels. budget for 2022, that would be a pretty big 8% budget cut. .

The White House has made it clear that Biden is not willing to make policy concessions in exchange for lifting the debt limit, which is the nation’s borrowing authority. The U.S. passed that limit earlier this month, and the Treasury Department has implemented “extraordinary measures” to prevent default for at least another few months.

Biden himself has ridiculed the idea of ​​negotiating spending cuts, telling Democratic congressional leaders last week that Republicans are “really serious about cutting Social Security, cutting Medicare.” “.

On Sunday, when McCarthy was asked if he would push to cut those programs, he said: “Get those programs off the table.” Pressed about the potential defense cuts he might have promised conservatives in the House, McCarthy replied: “I want to eliminate waste wherever it is. … I want to look at each part.

Washington Representative Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said his party favors a clear financial plan for the future but Republicans have been dishonest in dismantling it. solve the problem.

“We shouldn’t be negotiating about whether we should pay our bills,” Smith told “Fox News Sunday.” “Right now, Republicans don’t have a plan. Their plan, led by extremists in their party, is to complain about spending, not raise the debt ceiling, but not really come up with a plan. The plan said, ‘This is what we’re going to cut.'”

The upcoming debt limit struggle has a familiar precedent.

More than a decade ago, a new generation of tea party Republicans came to power, eager to confront the Obama administration to cut federal spending and rein in the nation’s debt burden. . As vice president at the time, Biden was at the center of those negotiations. But Republicans in the House and the White House were never able to reach an agreement, triggering a financial crisis. This time, Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress are in no mood to broker deals with a new era of hardline Republicans led by the Freedom Caucus.

McCarthy pointed to Biden’s previous experience trying to negotiate spending cuts and said he hoped the president would be willing to listen again.

“I think the president would be willing to put together a deal,” McCarthy said.

In an interview with The Associated Press late last week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she hoped Congress would eventually vote to increase the limit. But she said the GOP’s request to cut spending in return for a budget increase was “a very irresponsible practice” and risks creating a “self-inflicted disaster” for the economy. Global. Debt limit 2023: Joe Biden, Kevin McCarthy to discuss Wednesday

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