WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif, on Wednesday.
The president will receive McCarthy at the White House for discussion on a range of issues as part of a series of meetings with congressional leaders early in the new Congress, a White House spokesman said Sunday. The meeting follows Biden’s meeting with Democratic leaders last week, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y.
Biden will discuss his plans to grow the economy while reducing the deficit, the spokesman continued. The president will ask what McCarthy’s plan is, noting that the first bill tabled by the House speaker would increase the deficit by more than $100 billion.
The president also plans to ask McCarthy if he intends to fulfill his constitutional obligation to avoid a national default and not to jeopardize the economic security of all Americans, the spokesman added.
McCarthy first announced he will meet with Biden this week to discuss the debt ceiling in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” earlier Sunday. The House speaker said Republicans would not allow the US to default and expressed interest in reaching a deal with the president.
“I know the president said he doesn’t want to have discussions, but I think it’s really important that our entire government is focused on finding a compromise,” McCarthy said. “I want to find a reasonable way to lift the debt ceiling, but at the same time take control of this runaway spending.”
The US government reached its legal debt limit earlier this month. The Treasury Department said at the time that it had begun resorting to “extraordinary measures” to pay the bills and that there is a June 5 deadline to act or risk default.
House Republicans have demanded cuts in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling and avoiding a default on US debt. Party leaders, however, have not presented a uniform plan to cut spending, complicating McCarthy’s task of passing a bill with his narrow majority.
The White House previously said there will be no negotiations and Congress must allow the administration to pay its bills. Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have supported Biden and are demanding that McCarthy present his plan and pass it through the House before any discussions take place.
“I will not let anyone use the full confidence and credit of the United States as a bargaining chip,” Biden said last week, in his first major economic remarks of the year, arguing that GOP proposals would lead to higher inflation.
McCarthy quickly rebuked Biden’s stance, saying he is “disappointed” but remains firm in his demand for cuts.
“Here’s the leader of the free world banging the table, being irresponsible and saying ‘no, no, no, just raise the limit, let’s spend more.’ No. Adults don’t act like that,” McCarthy told reporters at the Capitol last week. “Let’s find common ground and let’s eliminate wasteful spending to protect hard-working taxpayers.”
“So the longer he waits, the more he puts America’s fiscal peril up for grabs,” the House speaker added.