WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will meet on Monday to directly try and negotiate a deal to raise the federal government’s debt ceiling with the clock ticking towards the June 1 deadline.
The news comes after Biden asked his team to set up a call with McCarthy on Sunday morning “following his meetings at the G7,” a White House official said Saturday night.
McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters Sunday that the conversation with the President was “productive” and that “I think we can solve some of these problems if he understands what we’re looking at.”
“But look, there’s no agreement. We’re still apart,” he said.
McCarthy’s comments come just hours after a heated back and forth between the Speaker and Biden as the ongoing saga over negotiations to raise the current $31.4 trillion debt limit before the country runs out of funds to pay its bills at the end of the month.
If the U.S. defaults on its debt, it would be a moment that is unprecedented and would rail the international markets, risking major financial damage to the economy, with over eight million people losing their jobs.
“It’s time for the other side to move from their extreme positions because much of what they’ve proposed is quite frankly unacceptable,” Biden said Sunday while overseas in Japan. “It’s time for Republicans to accept that there is no bipartisan deal to be made solely on their partisan terms. They have to move as well.”
“I’m not going to agree to a deal that protects, for example, a $30 billion tax break for the oil industry, which made $200 billion last year. They don’t need an incentive of another $30 billion while putting the health care of 21 million Americans at risk by going after Medicaid,” he added.
McCarthy said Saturday the debt talks would be paused until after Biden returned from Japan, saying the White House had moved “backward” during discussions.
“My guess is he’s going to want to deal directly with me,” Biden said Sunday. “We’re going to have to sit down. I’m hoping that Speaker McCarthy is just waiting to negotiate with me when I get home, which has been — I don’t know whether that’s true or not, we’ll find out.”