McCarthy describes 'good' first meeting with Biden, but 'no agreements' on debt ceiling


WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden met privately on Wednesday with Home Speaker Kevin McCarthy for greater than an hour — their first in-person meeting because the Republican gained the gavel.

There have been no indicators of a breakthrough between the Democratic president and Republican speaker on essentially the most consequential merchandise on their mutual to-do record: stopping a debt ceiling breach and avoiding an economically calamitous default later this 12 months.

“I respect the dialog we had collectively,” McCarthy informed reporters on the White Home after the meeting, calling it “a great dialog” that yielded “no agreements, no guarantees, besides we’ll proceed this dialog.”

“We had totally different views, but we each laid out a few of our imaginative and prescient of the place we wish to get to,” he mentioned. “I can see the place we will discover frequent floor.”

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He declined to disclose particulars, saying: “The president and I are looking for a means that we will work collectively, and we’ll proceed to do this.” Requested if Social Safety and Medicare cuts are on the desk, McCarthy mentioned: “No, we’re not speaking about that.”

In a readout of the meeting, the White Home mentioned the 2 males “coated a spread of points and President Biden underscored that he’s wanting to proceed working throughout the aisle in good religion.” However the White Home added: “President Biden made clear that, as each different chief in each events in Congress has affirmed, it’s their shared obligation to not enable an unprecedented and economically catastrophic default.” It mentioned Biden welcomes “a separate dialogue” about decreasing the debt.

Earlier than the meeting, the White Home demanded that McCarthy decide to avoiding default and that he lay out a GOP plan. Biden and his aides have mentioned publicly that extending the debt ceiling is nonnegotiable.

McCarthy has not specified what Republicans need in alternate for extending the debt ceiling. “The one factor I do know: Our debt is simply too excessive, we have now waste in our authorities.”

Forward of the meeting, White Home spokesman Andrew Bates accused Republicans of “threatening an unprecedented default until they’re paid a ransom of finances cuts they gained’t identify.”

The will for specifics extends to some within the Home GOP, too.

At a non-public Home Republican convention meeting on Wednesday, Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas stood up and referred to as on the McCarthy-led management crew to get extra particular about attainable spending cuts, a supply acquainted with the meeting informed NBC Information.

Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., informed reporters that McCarthy ought to write a invoice and cross it within the Home.

“Speaker McCarthy’s displaying up on the White Home right now with out a plan — it’s like sitting down on the desk with none playing cards in your hand,” he informed reporters. “We Democrats have a plan, as I discussed: Increase the debt ceiling with out brinksmanship or hostage-taking simply because it has been performed earlier than.”

The White Home has emphasised that it’s prepared to barter on finances coverage but that these talks have to be separated from the debt ceiling to stop any likelihood of default. Biden’s place comes after the Obama administration acceded to negotiations on the debt restrict in 2011, which introduced the U.S. to the brink of catastrophe. Obama, Biden and their advisers got here to view it as a giant mistake.

In the end, to avert a disaster, the Home must cross a invoice that Biden can signal and may cross the Democrat-controlled Senate. The early posturing from the White Home and Republican leaders factors to a possible candy spot that satisfies all sides’s pink line: a invoice that features provisions that the GOP can rejoice as a concession and Democrats can dismiss as a fig leaf.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaks outside of the West Wing of the White House following a meeting with President Joe Biden on Feb. 1, 2023.

Some Democratic allies of the president consider that Biden’s onerous line will soften. They count on that he’ll wind up partaking in one thing that appears and sounds very very like a negotiation, no matter he chooses to name it. Biden is, by temperament, a dealmaker who has spent a long time in politics forging agreements during which neither facet will get every thing it needs but comes away with one thing that’s passable. 

“There might be a wink or a nod or a handshake in areas the place they will a minimum of discover some consensus,” predicted Leon Panetta, a former finances director in Invoice Clinton’s presidency and later a Cupboard secretary within the Obama-Biden administration. 

“Biden’s entire historical past over 40 years is being prepared to barter,” Panetta added. “That’s why he’s been in a position to get pleasure from success on Capitol Hill: a willingness to barter. I think that there might be a course of right here of figuring out whether or not or not there’s a honest effort to actually impose finances self-discipline.”

“There’s loads of politics and posturing that’s at all times been concerned with the debt restrict. In the long run, everyone does know that it has to cross. That’s the one certainty that’s at all times been there.”

One Democratic congressman warned that Biden dangers wanting obstinate if the White Home seems to be shunning negotiations with Congress.

“I disagree with the posture of, ‘No negotiations,’” mentioned the congressman, talking on situation of anonymity to criticize the White Home. “Name them ‘discussions.’ Don’t be afraid to say, ‘We’re having discussions.’”

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