Biden To Meet Face-To-Face With McCarthy Over Debt Ceiling

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Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden is slated to meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday to discuss the debt ceiling as a possible economic default looms.

The government may run out of money as soon as June 1, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned. House Republicans and Biden have been at odds, with the president refusing to negotiate over the debt ceiling itself and McCarthy insisting that a raise will have to come with an agreement on spending cuts.

Three other Congressional leaders — House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — will join them for the conversation. (RELATED: House Democrats Prepare End Run Around McCarthy To Raise Debt Limit)

The meeting will not be characterized as “debt ceiling negotiations,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, being careful to say it will simply be a “conversation.”

The president’s hesitancy to host a meeting with the House speaker has stalled the conversation for three months, but he will be open to discussing spending cuts this time, NBC reported, citing a White House aide.

“We’ve been clear that he wants to have that conversation about the budget and that he has put forward both a way to reduce the deficit in a way that is responsible with both revenue raisers and spending cuts. So we’re open to spending cuts. We’ve made that clear,” the aide said, according to NBC.

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 17: (L-R) U.S. President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) depart the U.S. Capitol following the Friends of Ireland Luncheon on Saint Patrick’s Day March 17, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The White House has characterized the debt ceiling raise as Congress’ responsibility, not Biden’s. Jean-Pierre said McCarthy has to act “on behalf of the American people”

Biden will not propose that lawmakers pass a temporary increase to the ceiling to avoid default, the outlet reported, so an agreement with McCarthy will be critical to avoid default.

The president also said he would not try to invoke the 14th amendment, which says the public debt “shall not be questioned.”

On Friday, Biden said he has “not gotten there yet” on invoking the amendment, which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen did not rule out completely.