Even as House Republicans agree on concrete proposals to rein in out-of-control spending and the national debt, President Joe Biden is digging in his heels.
The tax-and-spend Democrat wants no part of a bipartisan push to bring some responsibility to federal finances. Instead, he flatly refuses to even discuss the issue.
Senior advisor to the president Gene Sperling appeared Thursday on CBS’s “Red and Blue.” He asserted that Republicans do not have “the right to say that we want to have a discussion where it’s either my way or we will put the United States in default for the first time in our history.”
It is clear that the White House sees this debt ceiling standoff as a winning political issue. Democrats argue that such a default would possibly trigger a recession.
.@SpeakerMcCarthy: “I sat down with [Biden] on February 1st … then I never heard from him for another 85 days.”
“He said ‘produce a plan, where’s your plan?’ Well we put our plan out, and now we’ve passed it. We're the only people in Washington that have raised the debt limit.” pic.twitter.com/cD3CdO09F8
— GOP (@GOP) April 28, 2023
The House passed a debt ceiling bill that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) described as the Republican Party’s opening bid in the stalemate. Wednesday’s 217-215 vote highlighted the GOP’s priorities for deep spending cuts.
As the speaker noted after the successful vote, the administration previously said that Republicans had not produced a plan. “You said at the very beginning we had to show you a plan,” McCarthy observed. “Not only did we show you a plan, we’re the only ones who passed a plan.”
He added the admonition that “no clean debt ceiling is going to pass the House.”
The president appears to be digging in for the long haul. On Wednesday, Biden ended a brief White House press conference by saying he is “happy to meet with McCarthy, but not on whether or not the debt limit gets extended.”
The Democrat then proclaimed, “That’s not negotiable.”
A White House official said while the administration wants to discuss the budget, it will not negotiate the debt ceiling. Calling it a “separate matter,” the official said that the House’s recent bill will likely lead to future conversations with the GOP.
Financial experts warn the two sides may have only until June to avoid a default. A trio of House Democrats followed up the passage of the new bill with a letter to both Biden and McCarthy imploring them to begin negotiations on the debt ceiling.