April 16, 2024
Biden says in Hiroshima press conference that Republicans must ‘move from their extreme positions’ on debt limit

Biden says in Hiroshima press conference that Republicans must ‘move from their extreme positions’ on debt limit

President Joe Biden on Sunday called for Republicans to agree to compromises in debt-ceiling negotiations, as he wrapped up a visit to Japan for a G-7 summit and prepared to fly back to Washington, D.C.

“Now it’s time for the other side to move from their extreme positions, because much of what they’ve already proposed is simply, quite frankly, unacceptable,” Biden said during a news conference in Japan.

“It’s time for Republicans to accept that there is no bipartisan deal to be made solely — solely — on their partisan terms. They have to move, as well,” he said.

Biden’s comments on movement were similar to what House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said two days ago. The House Republican from south-central California told reporters on Friday that there needs to be “movement by the White House, and we don’t have any movement yet, so, yeah, we’ve got to pause.”

Rep. Garret Graves, a Louisiana Republican deputized by McCarthy to lead the talks, had earlier Friday characterized Republicans as pressing a pause button after prior reports that a deal framework was coming into view, 

The president’s remarks in Hiroshima came as investors are watching for fresh signs of a bipartisan deal that would lift the federal government’s borrowing limit and prevent a market-shaking default.

Biden accused some Republicans of risking the economic damage of a default because of the 2024 White House race.

“I think there are some MAGA Republicans in the House who know the damage that it would do to the economy, and because I am president and presidents are responsible for everything, Biden would take the blame, and that’s the one way to make sure Biden is not re-elected,” he said.

During Sunday’s news conference, Biden, who cut short his trip because of the looming debt-ceiling crisis (leading to the cancellation of a Quad summit in Australia), said he and McCarthy will be talking later Sunday while he is flying back to the U.S.

“My guess is he’s going to want to deal directly with me,” the president said, adding that it had to do with “making sure we’re on the same page.”

“Our teams are going to continue working,” Biden also said.

When asked about McCarthy’s call for government spending to be less next year than this year, Biden said his side is “willing to cut spending, as well as raise revenue,” referring to tax increases. He also said his team is waiting for a GOP response to the White House’s latest counterproposal.

Graves, the Louisiana Republican, had, with his Friday-morning characterization of debt-ceiling negotiations as at a “pause,” suggested the Biden White House’s representatives were being “unreasonable.” Talks resumed Friday evening, but negotiators quickly called it quits for the night, and there was little progress reported Saturday, with McCarthy telling reporters that he didn’t think there would be an ability to “move forward until the president can get back.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned on May 1 and again last week that a U.S. default could happen as soon as June 1 if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling. The Bipartisan Policy Center and Congressional Budget Office have each offered similar projections.

Biden had for months called for a so-called clean increase of the $31.4 trillion cap on federal debt issuance, arguing that the time to address the levels of future government spending is instead during the annual budget-writing process.

In August 2011, lawmakers approved an increase to the debt limit just hours before a potential government default. Within days, the U.S. lost its triple-A credit rating from S&P for the first time in history, with the ratings agency saying the American political system had become less stable. U.S. stocks  SPX, +0.02% DJIA, -0.39% plunged in August 2011 following that debt downgrade by S&P.

Now read:

Debt-ceiling standoff: Here’s what could go into a bipartisan deal

Biden expresses confidence on achieving debt-ceiling deal: ‘America will not default’

‘Doomsday machine’: Here’s what could happen if the debt ceiling is breached

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