McCarthy confident after first meeting with Biden on debt ceiling: ‘At the end of the day, we can find common ground’


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy didn’t walk away from his much-anticipated White House meeting Wednesday with a deal to address the debt ceiling. President Joe Biden A consensus could be reached “long before” the US defaults.

McCarthy and the president exchanged political jabs ahead of the meeting — redlining their negotiations in the press and on social media. But emerging from the West Side on Wednesday, the new House speaker struck an unexpectedly optimistic tone as he said he believed they could reach an agreement.

United States of America Congress hit the debt ceiling in JanuaryThe Treasury Department forced the government to begin taking extraordinary measures to pay its bills and increased pressure on Capitol Hill to avoid a catastrophic default later this year.

The White House and the new House GOP majority are at odds over how to resolve a passage Increase the credit limitAnd while McCarthy called it “a good first meeting,” he noted that they still had “different perspectives on it.”

“At the end of the day, I think we can find common ground,” he added.

“Long before the deadline, we can start working on other things,” McCarthy told Biden, adding that he wanted to reach an agreement. A statement from the White House said Biden “underlined his willingness to continue working across the aisle in good faith” and continue dialogue with the speaker.

At the meeting, the White House statement said, the president “made it clear” to McCarthy that it was a shared responsibility not to let the country default on the debt.

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Following his first White House meeting since winning the speakership, McCarthy said a funding agreement could be reached for the next two years and “you won’t see omnipotence anymore.”

“You’ll see the Senate and the House actually do what the American people chose to do,” he added.

The White House said Biden “welcomes a separate discussion with congressional leaders about how to reduce the deficit and control the national debt while continuing to grow the economy.”

House Republicans have said raising the borrowing cap must be paired with spending cuts. And the White House, previously opposed It does not offer privileges Or negotiate to raise the debt ceiling.

The debt limit fight is seen as an early test of McCarthy’s leadership, balancing the competing demands of various factions of his convention amid a razor-thin majority. It also sheds light on how well McCarthy and Biden are able to work with each other.

Senate Republicans have indicated they will sit back and see how the House GOP handles a way to raise the $31.4 trillion borrowing limit — before deciding whether to insert themselves into the process.

Republicans face a political risk as they cut spending: If they propose cuts to popular government programs and services, they face a public backlash.

McCarthy said he told Biden the House would not pass a “clean” debt ceiling with no strings attached — rejecting the White House’s main demand.

Asked what he was offering Biden, McCarthy said: “The only thing I’ve heard over the last month is that I’m not going to negotiate with you. I sat down with the president for an hour in the Oval Office and talked about what we can do on the debt ceiling. So, the first start, well, that was last month. Different than it was.

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McCarthy prepared for the White House meeting, consulting regularly with allies on and off the Hill, sources familiar with the preparation told CNN.

McCarthy and his House GOP coalition this weekThere have been Eliminating initial demands, discussing steep cuts to domestic programs and slashing defense spending — all the while avoiding two programs to avoid voter backlash: Medicare and Social Security.

House Republicans had hoped to strengthen their negotiating hand with the White House by coalescing around a plan, but finding congressional consensus on spending cuts has proven challenging.

The view among Republicans heading into Wednesday’s meeting is that it’s still early and there are still months of negotiations — meaning plenty of time for McCarthy to release specifics. However, leaders also know that they must start laying the groundwork with their members.

Although rhetoric was relatively toned down in statements from McCarthy and the White House following Wednesday’s meeting, both parties used the past week to draw lines in the sand about negotiations.

McCarthy’s stance that cuts to Medicare and Social Security are off the table in exchange for debt ceiling increases has long drawn suspicion from the White House.

In a memo to “interested parties” Monday written by National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, Biden’s top economic advisers said they wanted to pose two questions to McCarthy on Wednesday: McCarthy McCarthy and House Republicans will release their budget At the time, the United States would pledge not to default on its financial obligations.

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A day before the meeting, the president suggested that McCarthy was entering the talks from a weak position, hampered by deals he had made with the unruly GOP convention.

Calling McCarthy a “decent man,” Biden said he was forced to cater to radical Republicans in his quest to become speaker.

At a high-dollar fundraiser in Manhattan, Biden said McCarthy had to make promises that were “totally off the wall for a speaker of the House to make.”

Responding to the president’s fundraising comments, McCarthy told reporters, “Obviously, he doesn’t understand … I’m looking forward to sitting down with the president and talking about how we can find savings for the American people, for the American people. We’ve looked at what spending has done, we’ve seen what it’s brought on with inflation, we’ve looked at the challenge it’s had. We look forward to changing the trend.

This story was updated Wednesday with additional developments.

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