McCarthy Calls For Immediate Negotiations on Budget, Debt Limit
(Bloomberg) — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats need to sit down with Republicans as soon as possible to begin discussing controls on federal spending and lifting the nation’s debt limit.
“We are six months away, approximately, and what I would like to do, is I would like to sit down with all the leaders and especially the president had start having discussions,” McCarthy said Tuesday at the Capitol.
Republicans now in control of the House have been demanding deep spending cuts as the price for an increase in the statutory ceiling on federal debt. But Biden and congressional Democrats have called for the limit to be increased without conditions, avoiding rattling financial markets and threatening the economy.
McCarthy rejected the Democrats’ approach, saying, “I don’t see why you would continue the past behavior.” He also said, “Who wants to put the nation through some type of threat at the last minute with the debt ceiling? Nobody wants to do that.”
He said Democrats should negotiate to “set a budget, set a path to get us to a balanced budget and let’s start paying this debt off.”
The speaker said he is seeking changes major entitlement programs as well as to annual discretionary spending that funds the operating budgets of federal agencies.
“Let’s sit down and find a place where we can protect Medicare and Social Security for the future generations, let’s put our house in order in how we are going to spend — and let’s make the investments we need to make America stronger,” McCarthy said.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told congressional leaders on Friday that the government will start deploying extraordinary accounting measures on Jan. 19 to avoid running out of cash. She said while it’s impossible to specify now when those measures will be exhausted, it’s unlikely to be before early June.
McCarthy said that after an initial conversation with Biden upon becoming speaker, he has not gotten an invitation for a follow up meeting on the debt ceiling.
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