Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy met again to resolve the debt ceiling issue. On this occasion, they did not reach a consensus, although both agreed that the way to an agreement is becoming more apparent. After so much back and forth, the only thing that repeats itself from meeting to meeting is that the clock toward default continues to tick.
This was the first meeting held since the President returned from the G7 summit; his absence during this crucial time caused the negotiations to falter to the point of a temporary halt. The approximately one-hour meeting seemed optimistic. However, as for a compromise between their positions, the spokesman stated that “we both agree on the areas that we know there’s disagreement on.”
The Republican celebrated that the meeting was “productive”; it was “better than any other time we have had discussions.” McCarthy again took to Twitter to explain the meeting’s outcome and clarify that the meeting “should have happened months ago.”
“We’re optimistic we may be able to make some progress because we both agree default’s not really on the table. We’ve gotta get something done here,” the President noted.
Accompanying McCarthy were House Financial Services Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC), the Speaker’s chief of staff, Dan Meyer, and his senior policy advisor, Brittan Specht. Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, Senior Advisor Steve Ricchetti and Office of Legislative Affairs Director Louisa Terrell appeared with Biden.
President Biden and I just had a productive meeting in our negotiation to responsibly raise the debt limit. It should have happened months ago, but there is a path for him to avoid defaulting on the debt. https://t.co/u3rDJmrl7v
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) May 22, 2023
Both Biden and McCarthy are under pressure from their parties for different reasons. Progressive Democrats no longer know what to do to convince the President to solve the problem with the 14th Amendment, which is controversial from a legal standpoint. On the other side of the aisle, the House Freedom Caucus has let the Speaker know they will not accept a deal that strays too far from the Limit, Save and Grow Act of 2023.
The road ahead for June 1
Both agreed to talk every day starting Monday n order to reach an agreement before the end of the week. That being the goal, there are some differences they will have to resolve if they hope to pose happily for the cameras before Friday.
For example, Biden argued that seeking to close tax loopholes and have the wealthy pay their “fair share” should be on the table, while McCarthy clearly stated that “the problem is not revenue, the problem is spending.”
Hakeem Jeffries, House Minority Leader, acknowledged that Democrats are willing to “discuss freezing spending at current levels,” a critical Republican point.
“That’s an inherently reasonable position that many in our party might even be uncomfortable with, but President Biden recognizes we’re in a divided government situation,” the Democratic congressman added.