White House to McCarthy: No Debt Limit Negotiations

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WASHINGTON (UKTN) — The White House said Friday that President Joe Biden “looks forward” to sitting down with new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to discuss a range of topics, including perhaps the thorniest challenge facing Washington faces this year: raising the country’s debt limit.

One problem: That statement came with no actual invitation to the White House and no date or time for a meeting.

On the contrary, the White House reiterated that Biden is unwilling to make policy concessions in exchange for lifting the debt limit, the country’s lending authority. The US bumped into that limit on Thursday and the Treasury Department has taken “extraordinary measures” to avoid bankruptcy for at least another few months.

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“As the president has said many times, raising the debt ceiling is not a negotiation; it is an obligation of this country and its leaders to avoid economic chaos,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in the statement released Friday night. “Congress has always done it and the president expects them to do their duty again. That is not negotiable.”

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The top two Democrats in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, both from New York, will meet with Biden on Tuesday, the White House said.

McCarthy, R-Calif., and his new majority in the House have said they will make changes, such as revisions to entitlement programs, so that Congress can raise the debt limit. The pledge revived prospects of a major fiscal deadlock like the one in the summer of 2011, leading to Standard & Poor’s first downgrade of a portion of the federal government’s AAA bond rating.

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“President Biden: I accept your invitation to sit down and discuss a responsible increase in the debt ceiling to address irresponsible government spending,” McCarthy said on Twitter earlier Friday, after Jean-Pierre said at a news conference that she had no meeting date between Biden and the new speaker to share.

On the Republican proposals, Jean-Pierre said, “The president looks forward to learning more about those plans.”

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