McCarthy says ‘no movement’ on debt ceiling talks as GOP holds US economy hostage

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday’s meeting with other congressional leaders and President Joe Biden produced no progress on a deal to prevent what economists say would be a catastrophic default on US sovereign debt. USA.

McCarty, who has kept the House in recess for the past two weeks and for most days since he and Biden last met on February 1, told reporters outside the White House that Biden and the Republican and Democratic leaders had simply reiterated the positions they held when the Speaker of the House and the President met 97 days earlier.

“Nothing has changed since then…everyone at this meeting reiterated the positions they were on. I didn’t see any new movement,” he said.

The California Republican’s latest meeting with Biden came just weeks after he garnered enough votes to claim the president’s gavel with the support of extremist and white nationalist members of the House Republican Conference, many of whom demanded that use the need to lift the charge. the government’s centennial statutory debt ceiling as leverage to force the Democratic president to reverse much of the legislative record he and the Democrats achieved over the previous two years.

Since that February meeting, the White House and the House of Representatives have remained far apart on what is needed before legislation allowing the US to resume issuing new debt instruments could make it to Biden’s desk. for your signiture.

For his part, the president’s vision has remained constant since the beginning of the year. Biden has repeatedly said that Congress should pass a “clean” debt ceiling increase and negotiate desired spending cuts for the next fiscal year when Congress begins working on a budget.

Speaking to reporters in the Roosevelt Room Tuesday night, Biden described the meeting as “productive” and said he told congressional leaders that he is prepared to begin what he described as a “separate discussion” about cutting the spending and the federal budget deficit, but also stressed that defaulting on US sovereign debt “is not an option.”

“America is not a lazy nation. We pay our bills and avoiding default is a basic duty of the United States Congress,” she said. The president also noted that Congress raised the debt limit three times under former President Donald Trump without a hitch, a nod to the tendency of Republicans to weaponize the debt limit under Democratic presidents.

Biden added that he will meet with congressional leaders again on Friday and said their respective staff members will continue the talks from time to time.

While the president’s position is consistent with how Congress has generally handled issues of raising the debt ceiling during past administrations, McCarthy characterized Biden’s insistence that Congress raise the debt ceiling as his count and address the spending cuts Republicans covet during the regular budget. process as uncompromising despite the fact that the Republicans have not submitted a budget proposal for the next fiscal year. He also accused Senate Majority Leader Check Schumer of trying to stymie negotiations so that Congress would have no choice but to pass the “clean” debt ceiling increase desired by Democrats and Biden.

“Chuck’s whole idea before was to push us to the edge and someone is going to have to break right. I don’t want to play politics with this. I think this is too important,” said McCarthy, who suggested that the only reason Biden called a meeting was because the GOP-led House of Representatives had passed a bill to increase the debt limit. while enacting drastic cuts to Democratic-favored government programs.

That legislation, which passed the House with a slim majority of Republican votes last month, would provide just one year of relief along with spending provisions that cut non-defense spending by up to 20 percent. Among the programs on the chopping block: President Joe Biden’s student debt relief initiative, as well as funding for new IRS staff.

The plan would also add new work requirements for adults with Medicaid, limit the growth of the federal government and place 2022 limits on discretionary spending. The White House said in response to the bill’s passage that Republicans were trying to “eliminate health care services for veterans, cut off access to Meals on Wheels, eliminate health care coverage for millions of Americans, and send jobs manufacturing abroad”.

While the House-passed bill is unlikely to go anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate, McConnell and Senate Republicans have so far backed McCarthy’s demand that Biden pass the US-backed austerity measures. the Republican Party in exchange for Republican votes to allow the United States to continue paying its debts.

Prominent GOP figures frequently claim that raising the legal debt limit to allow the US to continue meeting its financial obligations — a practice once routine under presidents of both parties and met with no objection when done under Biden’s predecessor—is akin to authorizing new spending.

That statement, however, is not how the debt limit works. Raising the debt limit does not increase or decrease the amount of money spent on programs that have already been authorized by Congress and allocated funds in appropriations legislation.

Experts say that if the debt limit is not raised, the government would be forced to default on its debt and precipitate a global financial crisis. The last time the United States flirted with that disastrous result was in 2011, when Republicans controlled the House and Democrats the Senate and the White House. Biden, then vice president of Barack Obama, led the negotiations with congressional leaders that prevented a default, but not before the US credit rating was lowered for the first time in history.

That 2011 spat ended with Republicans suffering declining approval ratings and facing accusations of jeopardizing the US economy for political reasons. It also came along with an unprecedented downgrade in America’s credit rating. Those same charges are being raised again now by the White House and the president’s allies in Congress, who are standing firm on Biden’s call for a clean increase in the debt limit.

Earlier this month, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that unless Congress acts, on June 1 the US will no longer have the legal ability to issue debt instruments that allow the government to pay for spending already authorized and incurred.

Despite reporters’ attempts to get McCarthy to guarantee that the US would not default, the Speaker repeatedly refused to make such a promise.

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