OAN’s Roy Francis
9:35 AM – Tuesday, May 16, 2023
President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy are set to meet on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the debt ceiling and how to move forward in order to avoid defaulting on the nation’s debt.
Biden, McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other congressional leaders were originally scheduled to meet last week on Friday, however the meeting was delayed to Tuesday. The Speaker said that the delay in the meeting was due to the White House’s unwillingness to budge and negotiate with the congressional leaders.
McCarthy, focused on preventing a default, said that he is glad that the meeting on Tuesday is happening, however he said that it should not have taken this long to “get in a room and come to an agreement.”
“We collectively should be able to get together,” McCarthy said. “Unfortunately, we had to wait 97 days to get in a room and come to an agreement.”
The Speaker explained that he had approached the President in February to discuss the debt ceiling. He went on to explain that an agreement needs to be reached this week in order to avoid defaulting, although he is not optimistic it will be, based on what the White House is demanding.
“I appreciate the president finally willing to talk after 97 days,” the Speaker said “But, there is no movement. If you look at the timeline to pass something in the House and pass something in the Senate, you’ve got to have something done by this week, and we are nowhere near any of that.”
The Speaker laid the blame for the delay on the President, explaining that his priority is reaching an agreement, but the President and White House do not seem like they “want a deal.”
“It doesn’t seem to me yet that they want a deal,” McCarthy said. “It seems like they want to look like they’re in a meeting. They’re not talking anything serious.”
White House officials also stated that they do not expect any sort of agreement or completed framework from the meeting on Tuesday with congressional leaders. Staff members have identified certain common ground areas, however they do not expect an agreement before the President leaves on his trip.
Failure to reach an agreement would threaten the first-ever default in the history of the country on its $31.4 trillion debt.
In a letter on Monday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the United States is projected to exhaust all options on the country’s bills by around June 1st if no agreement is reached, and debt ceiling is not raised, which would result in “an economic and financial catastrophe.”
The two parties have stalled in negotiations, with Speaker McCarthy demanding spending cuts saying that the spending is spiraling out of control. Meanwhile the President maintained that Congress must raise the debt limit with no conditions, however, he said that he is willing to hold separate negotiations on spending.
If no agreement is reached in Tuesday meeting, White House staffers stated that negotiations will continue as the President travels to Japan, and he will be receiving daily updates.
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