President Joe Biden is backing away from the White House’s earlier promise not to negotiate over the debt ceiling. The president invited House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for deliberations over meeting American credit obligations.
The White House and Congress have until the end of May to hammer out any potential deal. The current debt limit is $31.4 trillion, which has been expanded during the significant deficits of the Biden administration.
President Biden called McCarthy while the House Speaker was on a trip to Israel.
The House did our job. We have already passed a bill to both address the debt ceiling and Washington’s spending problem. Time for President Biden and extremists in the Senate to do their job rather than create a debt crisis. The American people deserve better. https://t.co/bRwY4loOIb
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) May 1, 2023
The White House announced that McCarthy was invited for negotiations on May 9 alongside Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The four members of Congress represent the party leadership in either chamber.
Biden’s move followed a warning from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that the nation would be unable to meet some of its debt obligations by early June.
The slowing economy could also play a role in the negotiations, as Yellen stated that Washington was taking in less in tax revenue than anticipated.
McCarthy and Republicans in the House passed a bill to raise the debt ceiling, alongside a number of significant spending cuts.
The House plan would raise the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion, approximately one year of borrowing while cutting $4.8 trillion from federal budgets over the next decade. This includes $130 billion in the next fiscal year and set a limit of budget growth of 1%.
The Republican plan desires to cancel more than $90 billion in unspent pandemic funds, as well as requiring welfare recipients to work in order to receive benefits.
The White House reneged on its earlier pledge not to engage Republican leadership in the debt ceiling debate.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wrote in January that “raising the debt ceiling is not a negotiation; it is an obligation of this country and its leaders to avoid economic chaos.”
She added that Biden expected Congress “to do their duty once again.”
“That is not negotiable,” she wrote.