Biden, McCarthy to discuss debt ceiling, gov't budget amid discord
Wednesday's meeting is anticipated to witness Biden's test of McCarthy's commitment to never resorting to defaulting on US financial obligations, according to the memorandum.
US President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are due for a meeting on Wednesday to talk about the debt ceiling and potential government budgets, with both at crossroads with different views on the latter.
Intentions to negotiate a "responsible" debt ceiling were voiced by McCarthy on Sunday as the national debt reached nearly $31.46 trillion, as per Treasury Department data.
The White House released a memorandum on Tuesday of Biden's intent for a draft budget to be announced on March 9, which also warns of the risks of default and adds that raising the debt ceiling is "not a negotiation."
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Wednesday's meeting is anticipated to witness the president's test of McCarthy's commitment to never resorting to defaulting on US financial obligations, according to the memorandum. In response to the memorandum, McCarthy said he had no interest in playing "political games" with the president and that the meeting is to "negotiate for the American people."
Putting the brakes on government spending has been suggested by Republican lawmakers to attain a balanced budget, in addition to federal sales tax to replace the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), but Biden confirmed he would shut down any of these measures.
The Treasury Department announced last month that it began taking extraordinary measures to avoid a government debt default by temporarily suspending payments that are not immediately required for essential programs or to keep the government running.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that if Congress does not address the debt limit soon, the US risks triggering a recession or a global financial crisis. If Congress fails to raise the limit, the US will automatically default on its payments, obstructing basic US government functions.
During a briefing broadcast by C-SPAN on January 25, McCarthy stated, "For the president — he said he would not even negotiate — that is irresponsible. We are going to be responsible, we are going to be sensible, and we are going to get this done together. So, the longer he waits, the more he puts the fiscal jeopardy over America … We should sit down and get this done and stop playing politics,"
This comes after a surprising turn of events, when House Appropriations Committee (HAC) Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro said earlier last month that McCarthy's deal to win the speakership included capping 2024 government spending at 2022 levels, which could potentially mean a $75 billion cut in defense spending.
The last-minute spending "deal" was made by people who are on their way out the door.— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) December 14, 2022
House Republicans won't support wasting your tax dollars on another massive spending blowout. pic.twitter.com/HmRIHvInlw
The matter of government spending, which exacerbated the national debt, comes in light of the war in Ukraine and more specifically, the US' continuous military and monetary packages to Ukrainian forces.
McCarthy previously stated that Ukraine will not receive a "blank check" anymore and proposed an audit. The purpose of the audit is meant to track how the funds are being delivered and exactly where - as prior suspicions point to many shipped arms ending up on the black market.
Controversial Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, who announced the audit decision, promised to "hold our government accountable", as other colleagues such as Rep. Jason Crow echoed to the Washington Post, "The taxpayers deserve to know that investment is going where it's intended to go," adding, "In any war, there can be missteps and misallocation of supplies."
The lawmakers called out current monitoring efforts as inadequate, since the Biden administration inspected just 10% of the 22,000 weapons transported to Ukraine between February and November 1, according to The Washington Post.