Biden, McCarthy to meet at White House amid deadlock in debt limit talks

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is to meet Monday with President Biden at the White House in hopes of forging a breakthrough on a deal to cut spending and raise the debt limit.

Mr. McCarthy announced the meeting shortly after speaking via phone with Mr. Biden, who is returning to the United States after meeting with Group of Seven leaders in Japan. 

“We have 11 days,” said Mr. McCarthy, California Republican. “Time is of the essence.” 

The meeting comes as negotiations between the White House and House Republicans have deadlocked. 

Mr. McCarthy said the breakdown is due in part to the White House’s unwillingness to cut spending immediately. Republicans are pushing for at least $130 billion in the upcoming budget, which at least half could come from rescinding unspent coronavirus funds, Mr. McCarthy said. 

“Unfortunately, the White House moved backward,” the House speaker said. “They actually want to spend more money than we spent this year. We can’t do that. We all know how big this deficit is.”

SEE ALSO: Biden flirts with 14th Amendment as pressure mounts from right and left in debt talks

The White House is proposing to keep domestic and defense spending flat for the upcoming fiscal year. They argue that would still amount to a spending cut because of inflation. 

House Republicans want to boost spending for defense, border security and veterans benefits. GOP lawmakers say spending cuts should be focused on welfare programs and “woke bureaucracy.” 

Both sides are accusing the other of moving goalposts and trying to load up legislation with poison pills.

House Republicans have proposed stricter work requirements for food stamps than were included in the debt-limit bill they passed last month. They are also pushing for the package to address immigration and border security. 

Each issue is a priority for hardline conservatives, who Mr. McCarthy will need to keep the speaker’s gavel within the narrowly divided House. 

“The speaker’s team put on the table an offer that was a big step back and contained a set of extreme partisan demands that could never pass both Houses of Congress,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. 

Mr. Biden, meanwhile, has proposed closing tax loopholes and raising rates on the wealthy. The president has also urged Republicans to expand Medicare’s ability to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. 

Progressive Democrats have long championed the ideas as ways to boost revenue and curtail the deficit without having to slash spending for social welfare programs. Republicans have rejected both ideas. 

Raising “taxes right now would only be passed on to consumers at higher prices,” House Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington, Texas Republican, said on ABC’s “This Week.”

 231 total views,  1 views today