Thursday, May 23, 2024

Biden strikes optimistic tone on debt ceiling agreement

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Senior National
Correspondent

President Joe Biden hosted discussions on the debt limit with top leaders last week before heading off to Japan for the G7 Summit.

The tug-of-war between the parties over the debt ceiling has unraveled some of the President’s efforts at diplomacy, forcing a shortened trip with cancelled stops in Papua New Guinea and Australia, hindering the President’s ability to reinforce influence in the Pacific, reports CBS News.

Biden has reiterated that America’s role in the world remains vital, primarily as the U.S. works with its allies to support Ukraine, tackle the climate crisis, and strengthen the global economy.

 

(US Treasury Dept.)

The President promises to be in close contact with his negotiating team, who will attempt to wager a deal with House Leader Kevin McCarthy on the debt ceiling. The team includes trusted advisor Steve Ricchetti, Legal Affairs Director Louisa Terrell, and OMB Director Shalanda Young, they report.

Biden is relying on the team to strike a deal with House Speaker McCarthy to raise the federal government’s debt ceiling past the current $31.4 trillion. A deal must be reached and ushered through both houses of Congress by June 1 to avoid default on its bills.
The president characterized the latest debt ceiling negotiations as “civil and respectful.” “We had a productive meeting,” Biden pronounced.

“I’m confident that we’ll get an agreement on the budget, that America will not default.”
America has never defaulted on its obligations, but a Republican-led and hostile Congress has threatened to make dubious history.

With the 2024 presidential election campaign already heated, some in the GOP are holding out for concessions most Democrats find distasteful.

With both sides aware that defaulting on our nation’s debt would be catastrophic for the economy, it is unlikely that either side would wish to be responsible for that happening.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) also attended the Biden-McCarthy meeting.

“Every leader in the room understands the consequences if we fail to pay our bills,” Biden asserted.

“And it would be catastrophic for the American economy and the American people if we didn’t pay our bills.”

He continued:

“And I’m confident everyone in the room agreed that we’re going to come together because there’s no alternative to do the right thing for the country.”

Meanwhile, McCarthy also sounded an optimistic tone. “It’s doable,” the Speaker stated when asked whether a deal was possible.

“We’re on such a short timeline; it makes it almost harder,” McCarthy continued.

“But there’s one thing you know, for me, I never give up. I have the grit, the perseverance, and we’re gonna get it done.”

Jeffries said he hoped that a bipartisan agreement would materialize. Still, he also noted that Democrats in the House would file a discharge petition if they needed to bypass chamber procedures to avoid a default.

If a deal is reached and passed in the House, the Senate must vote on the measure.
While Democrats have a 51-49 majority, the deal still needs nine Republicans to pass.
As part of the stalemate, GOP members have demanded that any measure attach work requirements for anyone receiving government aid like food stamps.

Democrats want to raise taxes on the nation’s most wealthy.

Republicans called that a non-starter and would rather lower-income residents and those receiving federal assistance pick up the costs by paying or working more.

“I’m not going to accept any work requirements that’s going to impact on medical health needs of people,” Biden asserted.

“I’m not going to accept any work requirements that go much beyond what already exists.

But it’s possible there could be a few others, but not anything of any consequence.”

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