President Biden on Tuesday took a swipe at Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for his remarks a day earlier on Wall Street in which he laid out a plan for raising the debt ceiling into next year while also capping federal spending.
“Yesterday, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, went to Wall Street,” Biden said in remarks from the Rose Garden. “He did not tell the wealthy or the powerful on Wall Street that it was finally time for them to start paying their fair share in taxes. That didn’t come up, other than saying they’re going renew the $2 trillion tax cut.”
“Instead, he proposed huge cuts to important programs that millions of Americans count on. He threatened to become the first Speaker to default on our national debt, which took over 230 years to accumulate,” Biden continued. “He’s threatened to be the first one to default on the debt, which would throw us into a gigantic recession and beyond unless he gets what he wants in the budget. Folks, you’ve got to ask yourselves, what are MAGA Republicans in Congress doing?”
The comments are the latest in an ongoing back-and-forth between the White House and McCarthy over the debt ceiling, which Congress must raise in the coming months or risk an economically damaging federal default.
McCarthy on Monday visited Wall Street in New York City, where he criticized Biden for a lack of communication on the issue.
The Speaker went on to say the the House Republican Conference would move forward with its own measure in the coming weeks to stave off a national default, but that outline quickly fell flat with the administration and congressional Democrats.
McCarthy said the House would vote to lift the debt ceiling into 2024, which would punt the issue into the heart of campaign season. He also said the forthcoming plan would seek to limit federal spending, with proposals to return discretionary funding levels to 2022 levels “and then limit the growth of spending over the next 10 years to 1 percent of annual growth,” without “touching Social Security and Medicare.”
Negotiations between the White House and House Republicans over how to act on the debt limit, which caps how much money the Treasury can owe to cover the country’s bills, are at a standstill.
Biden and Democrats have pushed for a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling, insisting negotiations over government spending be carried out separately from debt limit talks.
But Republicans see the debt ceiling as a leverage point to secure concessions from Democrats that could help curb spending. The party has vowed to increase fiscal discipline and carry out significant spending reforms upon reclaiming control of the House earlier this year.
It’s unclear if McCarthy will be able to wrangle enough support for his plan even within his own party. Republicans only have a four-member majority in the House, setting up for tense negotiations within the GOP.
Despite hopes by McCarthy to push a bill on the matter to a floor vote as early as next week, several Republicans on Tuesday said they were not ready to support McCarthy’s plan so far.