House Speaker Kevin McCarthy tweeted Friday that he has an accepted an invitation from President Biden to meet and discuss, among other things, a solution to addressing the debt ceiling.
The White House has previously said there would be no negotiations with Republicans on the debt ceiling, that there must be a clean increase to the debt limit, that is, without conditions attached. Still, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a briefing Friday that the president “is looking forward to meeting with Speaker McCarthy” about topics including the debt ceiling.
“President Biden: I accept your invitation to sit down and discuss a responsible debt ceiling increase to address irresponsible government spending,” McCarthy tweeted Friday afternoon. “I look forward to our meeting.”
Later Friday, Jean-Pierre issued a statement emphasizing that no date has yet been set for a meeting.
“President Biden looks forward to meeting with Speaker McCarthy to discuss a range of issues, as part of a series of meetings with all new congressional leaders to start the year,” Jean-Pierre said. “Like 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. Congress has always done it, and the president expects them to do their duty once again. That is not negotiable.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellenthe country reached its borrowing limit on Thursday, and estimated the federal government can use “extraordinary measures” to avoid a crippling credit default until about June.
Many Republicans like McCarthy want an agreement on lowering federal spending before supporting a debt limit increase. Congress suspended the debt ceiling three times under former President Trump.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week he believes the debt ceiling will have to be addressed in the first half of this year.
Mr. Biden was former President Barack Obama’s chief emissary during negotiations on the debt ceiling in 2011. Ultimately, Congress and the White House reached a deal and increased the debt ceiling in August of that year.
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