WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and congressional leaders remain deadlocked following their meeting at the White House on Tuesday amid fears of a debt ceiling collapse if no agreement is finalized before June 1.
Following the meeting, both sides accused the other of being unreasonable and sources described the mood in the room as “tense and serious” as Biden commented afterward he felt McCarthy was out of line.
“Occasionally there would be a little bit of an assertion that maybe was a little over the top from the speaker,” Biden said in remarks in the Roosevelt Room following the meeting. Biden also revealed for the first time he has considered invoking the 14th Amendment to circumvent Congress and ignore the debt ceiling but suggested there could be litigation concerns.
McCarthy said later he would not support the use of the 14th Amendment.
“Everybody in this meeting reiterated the positions they were at. I didn’t see any new movement,” McCarthy said.
Republicans are wanting to link spending cuts to increasing the debt ceiling, but Democrats and the White House say that move would only slash social services for Americans.
“By not taking default off the table, Speaker McCarthy is endangering America and making it much harder to make progress on budget negotiations,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday.
Despite McCarthy not commenting if he would own this if the debt ceiling collapses, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the two sides would find a solution before the June 1 deadline.
“The United States is not going to default. It never has and it never will,” he said. “The solution lies between the one person in America who can sign a bill into law and the speaker of the House.”
Asked Tuesday if he would consider a short-term debt deal, Biden made one thing clear: no default.
“I’m not ruling anything out — I said I’d come back and talk. One thing I’m ruling out is default,” he said.