Mar 28, 2023 - Politics & Policy

McCarthy asks Biden to restart talks on budget, debt limit

President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, wearing green ties, sitting at a table.

President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Tuesday called for President Biden to return to the negotiating table on the budget and the debt ceiling.

Why it matters: The clock is ticking on deadlines to avert a default on U.S. loans and fund the federal government for the next fiscal year.

  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned the U.S. risks default by early June if Congress does not act.
  • Congress skips town at the end of this week and doesn't return until April 17.

Driving the news: In a letter released Tuesday, McCarthy pressed Biden to “please have your team reach out to mine to the end of this week to set a date for our next meeting.”

  • The two have not sat down together to discuss the issue since early February — nearly two months ago.
  • In the letter, McCarthy signaled his continued opposition to passing a debt ceiling increase without without tying it to spending cuts in the budget.
  • "House Republicans are united in our view that the best way to reduce the national debt is to [l]imit [s]pending," he wrote, "I am prepared to sit down to discuss a variety of means to do so that would achieve trillions of dollars in savings."

Yes, but: Biden has hammered McCarthy on the fact that, while the White House released its 2024 budget blueprint earlier this month, Republicans have yet to release theirs.

  • House Budget Committee Chair Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) said last week McCarthy was preparing a "deal sheet" laying out proposed spending cuts.
  • But McCarthy told reporters, "I don't know what he's talking about."

The other side: White House spokesperson Andrew Bates referred to a statement from Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who said, "It’s time for Republicans to stop playing games [and] agree to a pass a clean debt ceiling bill."

  • "And if they want to have a conversation about our nation’s economic and fiscal future," the statement continued, "it’s time for them to put out a budget — as the president has done."
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