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Kevin McCarthy says Biden has ignored a looming crisis

By Sarah May
|
April 22, 2023

Holding firm on his assertion that President Joe Biden and the Senate have “ignored” the impending debt ceiling crisis, Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (CA-20) said this week that he will have sufficient votes to pass legislation to raise the limit until 2024, as the Daily Mail reports.

McCarthy's comments came during an exclusive interview given to the Mail following a speech he delivered to “Wall Street traders, CEOs and other financial leaders” in which he advocated for negotiations with the Biden White House, which has declined to engage due to disputes over spending cuts.

McCarthy says votes are there

The House speaker was asked specifically if he would be able to marshall enough votes to pass a legislative package that would raise the debt limit until next year.

Pointing to ongoing discussions within his party about the proposed terms, McCarthy said, “We've been talking about it and it's all coming together.

Underscoring the differences he sees between his party and Biden's, the speaker added, “And we're seeing that the Republicans are ready to act where the president doesn't really want to engage.”

Providing the broad strokes of what his party will propose, McCarthy said, “In the coming weeks, the House will vote on a bill to lift the debt ceiling into the next year, save taxpayers trillions of dollars, make us less dependent upon China, curb our high inflation – all without touching Social Security and Medicare.”

“The president has ignored this”

McCarthy also told the Mail why he felt compelled to speak on the topic at the New York Stock Exchange amid rising tensions between the parties on the issue of the debt limit.

“Well it was just to inform them that the president has ignored this for 75 days, I think it's important especially as we walk down this challenge that they know exactly what's going on,” McCarthy said of the financial industry leaders he addressed Monday.

The California Republican added, “I believe in just transparency, openness, just providing the facts, and that's what today was about.”

“I don't think it will be the last time that I give [Wall Street] an update on where we currently are and where we're going,” McCarthy concluded.

Biden blasts plan

As the Associated Press noted, Biden has remained resolute in his refusal to negotiate with McCarthy, due to the limits on federal spending his plan would impose.

McCarthy's blueprint would cap a large segment of federal spending at 1% percent annual increases, something Biden says would force “huge cuts” to critical programs.

In Biden's estimation, McCarthy's stance casts him as someone who has “threatened to be the first one to default on the debt, which would throw us into a gigantic recession and beyond unless he gets what he wants in the budget.”

Speaking with Democrat leaders from both chambers Tuesday, Biden decried what he said was Republican “brinkmanship over default and how their recklessness could crash the economy,” the AP further noted.

Growing number of Dems want talks

Though Biden has not budged in shooting down McCarthy's negotiation requests, Politico reports that an increasing number of Democrats believe the president's approach may need to change, particularly if the speaker does rally the House GOP to support the aforementioned package.

The concern for many Democrats, according to the outlet, is that if House Republicans pass their bill, and Biden holds firm in his refusal, voters may view Biden as possessing an insufficient sense of urgency amid a looming crisis.

Democrat Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI-06) is among those on the left calling for action on the part of the White House. “They've got to do it soon,” she said. The administration simply “can't keep waiting,” she added.

Echoing that sentiment was Democrat Rep. Greg Landsman (OH-01), who said, “I don't think there's any harm in the two of them sitting down to talk” and added, “[t]he idea that we're even coming this close to a potential default is insane.” Whether any putative talks between McCarthy and the White House will yield any sort of bipartisan accomplishment, however, remains an open question.