In an effort to clear the debt ceiling and cut spending, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy encouraged Democrats on Tuesday to begin negotiating a deal. While Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said that she will take “extraordinary measures” to extend the deadline for the debt ceiling to June, McCarthy said, “I would like to sit down with all the leaders and especially the president and start having discussions.”
In an effort to ensure that negotiations begin well before the June deadline, McCarthy said, “Who wants to put the nation through some type of threat at the last minute with the debt ceiling? Nobody wants to do that.”
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Meanwhile, the White House has indicated that it has no plans to negotiate the debt ceiling and urged Congress to raise the debt ceiling without slashing spending while Joe Biden called Republicans “fiscally demented.”
During a press conference Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters, “As President Biden has made clear, Congress must deal with the debt limit and must do so without conditions.”
“But congressional Republicans are threatening to hold the nation’s full faith and credit, a mandate of the Constitution, hostage to their demands to cut Social Security, to cut Medicare and to cut Medicaid – brinkmanship that threatens the global economy.”
McCarthy noted that a potential debt ceiling deal could reform entitlement programs like Medicare, discretionary spending, and Social Security.
While Congress typically increases the debt ceiling, McCarthy called for a different approach, saying, “set a budget, set a path to get to a balanced budget and let’s start paying this debt off.”
In an effort to find a middle ground and protect programs Democrats have expressed concern over, McCarthy added, “Let’s sit down and find a place where we can protect Medicare and Social Security for the future generations, let’s put our house in order in how we are going to spend.”
Despite McCarthy’s pleas to negotiate a deal well ahead of the looming deadline, it is unlikely that he will be able to convince Biden or Democrats to come to the negotiating table until the last minute.