Biden met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., at the White House. Biden and McCarthy previously met on Feb. 1.
“Nothing has changed since then. The only thing that has changed is the House has raised the debt ceiling and passed the bill. That’s why we had a meeting today. Everybody in this meeting reiterated the positions they were at,” McCarthy said following the meeting.
“I didn’t see any new movement. The president said the staff should get back together. But I was very clear with the president: We have now just two weeks to go. If [Sen.] Chuck Schumer could pass something, we’d go to conference right away and solve that, but I don’t think Chuck Schumer can pass anything. They haven’t dealt with it,” McCarthy said.
The U.S. House of Representatives on April 26 passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, which aims to “limit federal spending, save taxpayer dollars,” and “grow the economy.” The legislation passed 217-215 in the House but did not get a single vote from a Democrat.
“Unfortunately, the president has waited 97 days without ever meeting. Everyday I asked, ‘Could we meet?’ And he said, ‘No.’ The House has raised the debt ceiling in a responsible manner, curve our spending at the same time, bring us economic growth,” McCarthy said. “And I asked the president this simple question, ‘Does he not believe there’s any place we could find savings?’”
McCarthy added: “I would hope that he would be willing to negotiate for the next two weeks so we could actually solve this problem and not take America on the brink.”
McCarthy noted that Biden and the top congressional leaders will meet again on Friday.
“Let me first make the point: The United States is not going to default, it never has, and it never will,” McConnell said after the meeting. “However, elections have consequences. We now have divided government. We didn’t have a divided government last year.”
“In 2019, I told President [Donald] Trump, who was no fan of Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi, that they needed to work it out. Why? We had divided government,” McConnell said. “The solution to this problem lies with two people: the president of the United States, who can sign a bill and deliver the members of his party to vote for it, and the speaker of the House.”
Biden also weighed in on the meeting, which he called “productive.”
“I made clear during our meeting that default is not an option. I repeated that time and again,” Biden said. “America is not a deadbeat nation. We pay our bills and avoiding default is a basic duty of the United States Congress.”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, with the support of 42 other Republican senators, sent a letter to Schumer stating that they “will not be voting for cloture on any bill that raises the debt ceiling without substantive spending and budget reforms.”
“Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Joe Biden have sat on their hands for over three months, trying to run out the clock on the debt ceiling,” EJ Antoni, a research fellow in regional economics in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an emailed statement. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
“Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is personally calling CEOs of major corporations to scare them about an impending default if Biden doesn’t get his way—a blank check to spend more money,” Antoni said. “And that’s emblematic of the only thing the Left has to offer on this issue, namely, scare tactics. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has passed a bill that will raise the debt ceiling and return spending levels to where they were just a few months ago.”
One day before the meeting, Yellen discussed the debt ceiling and the “economic catastrophe” should it not be raised. The U.S. reached its debt limit of $31.4 trillion on Jan. 19, The Daily Signal previously reported.
“That is something that could produce financial chaos, it would drastically reduce the amount of spending and would mean that Social Security recipients and veterans and people counting on money from the government that they’re owed, contractors, we just would not have enough money to pay the bills,” Yellen told CNBC.
“After reviewing recent federal tax receipts, our best estimate is that we will be unable to continue to satisfy all of the government’s obligations by early June, and potentially as early as June 1, if Congress does not raise or suspend the debt limit before that time,” Yellen said in the letter.
“This estimate is based on currently available data, as federal receipts and outlays are inherently variable, and the actual date that Treasury exhausts extraordinary measures could be a number of weeks later than these estimates,” Yellen said.
Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.