A White House reporter pressed White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on disclosing details about President Joe Biden’s negotiations with Republicans on the debt ceiling.
Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have yet to reach a deal on raising the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling which is expected to reach default on June 1. The White House has condemned House Republicans’ 320-page debt ceiling proposal intending to cut federal spending by approximately $130 billion.
“Do you mean to tell us that in the discussions between the president and the speaker, and in the discussions between the two negotiating teams, they are only discussing federal discretionary spending and that they are not at all discussing the terms under which the debt ceiling would be raised?” he asked.
“What I can tell you is what you’ve heard from the president and what you’ve heard from both sides, which has been the negotiation has certainly been about the budget,” Jean-Pierre said. “You’ve heard them talk about the budget, you’ve heard them talk about how we’re moving forward and that in this particular moment that we’re in they’ve been productive. The president has held the line and has been very clear that when it comes to the debt limit, it should be done without negotiations, without condition. That’s something that the president has said in front of all of you.”
“They’re not talking about the debt ceiling, about how long it will be raised, by how much. That’s not a subject of discussion?” the reporter interjected. (RELATED: ‘Is He A MAGA Republican Extremist?’: Reporter Spars With KJP About White House’s Attacks On GOP Debt Ceiling Proposal)
“I am telling you what the president has said to all of you,” she answered.
“I know what he said. I follow it very closely, everyday,” he shot back. “I want to know what’s happening in that room.”
The press secretary reiterated the president’s view of the debt ceiling being non-negotiable. The reporter questioned whether Biden is “living up” to negotiations in his several discussions with McCarthy and other Republican leaders.
Jean-Pierre told the reporter refusing to raise the debt ceiling to reach default “is off the table.” The White House said Biden is “optimistic” about reaching a deal, but McCarthy expressed concern about the current inability to reach a deal.
Six Democratic senators have called on Biden to raise the debt ceiling without Congress, urging him to invoke the 14th Amendment to take the potential action.