What Biden, McCarthy, and McConnell said about the US debt ceiling
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said his chamber will not approve any deal that doesn't cut spending to address a growing budget deficit.
President Joe Biden and top Republican lawmakers met face-to-face on Tuesday as a deadlock over raising the $31.4 trillion U.S. debt limit threatened to push the country into an unprecedented default in as soon as three weeks if Congress does not act.
Biden is calling on lawmakers to raise the federal government's self-imposed borrowing limit without conditions. Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said his chamber will not approve any deal that doesn't cut spending to address a growing budget deficit.
President Joe Biden
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"I had a productive meeting with congressional leadership about the path forward, to make sure America does not default on its debt."
"We agreed to continue our discussions and we're going to meet again on Friday. In the meantime, our staffs are going to meet today and daily between now and then and everyone in the meeting understood the risk of default."
"I made clear during our meeting that default is not an option." "I told congressional leaders I'm prepared to begin a separate discussion about my budget."
Biden also did not rule out eventually invoking the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, an untested approach that would seek to declare the debt limit unconstitutional. Doing so would require litigation, he said, but it's an option he may study in the future.
"I have been considering the 14th amendment," Biden said. "It would have to be litigated."
"Over these last few days and weeks, there's a lot of politics, posturing and gamesmanship and it's going to continue for a while."
On canceling trip to the G7: "I'm still committed but obviously this is the single most important thing that's on the agenda."
"If somehow we got down to the wire and we still hadn't resolved this," and the due date was during the trip "I would not go. I would stay until this gets finished."
Kevin Mccarthy, Speaker, House of Representative
"Everybody in this meeting, reiterated the positions they were at. I didn't see any new movement. President said the staff should get back together. But I was very clear with the president, we have now just two weeks to go.""Unfortunately, the president has waited 97 days without ever meeting. Every day I asked 'could we meet?' And he said no."
"I asked him numerous times 'are there some places we could find savings'? He wouldn't give me any. So I'm hopeful that we'll be able to find them.""I would hope that he would be willing to negotiate for the next two weeks so we could actually solve this problem."
Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader
Schumer said legislative and White House staff will begin meeting as soon as Tuesday night to seek common ground on a potential appropriations package, but he warned: "The disagreements are wide."
"We explicitly asked speaker McCarthy would he take default off the table? He refused."
"Instead of him giving us a plan to remove default, he gave us a plan to take default hostage and that is a shame because that makes things more complicated."
"The president asked the people from all four of the leaders to start sitting down as early as tonight, certainly tomorrow, to see whether we can come to an agreement on the budget and the appropriations process. There are probably some places we can agree and some places we can compromise, hopefully but that has to occur as part of the budget appropriations process."
Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican Leader
"We ought to have at least some restraint on our spending related to the debt ceiling, and this is not unusual. We've been here before. Debt ceilings have frequently carried other measures."
"What we have here is we're running out of time, and it's time for the President to get serious and just sit down with the Speaker and get a solution."
PROSPERUS, A COALITION OF PROGRESSIVE GROUPS"We cannot allow extremists in the House to make devastating ransom demands in exchange for not cratering our economy – period."
"The Republican House majority's shameful default bill is completely unworkable. Their plan is full of wildly unpopular and damaging cuts to health care, food assistance, clean energy jobs, and more. This bill would be devastating for workers and the economy while doing nothing to make corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share."
Nile Bradley, Chief Policy Officer, U.S Chamber of Commerce
"While we are disappointed that there was no new movement today, we are pleased that the president and Congressional leadership will meet again this week, but we cannot stress enough that time is short, with each passing day increasing the risk for a misstep resulting in a default.
It is clear that a clean debt limit cannot become law, so we encourage both parties to focus on areas where a bipartisan agreement is possible, including reforming the permitting process and agreeing on limits on future federal spending."
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