McCarthy Demands Concessions From Biden to Find 'Common Ground' on Debt Ceiling

FILE PHOTO: House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy speaks to reporters following a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and other congressional leaders at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 29, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
February 6, 2023

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) on Monday called on President Joe Biden to find "common ground" with Republicans to find a "responsible" debt limit increase that avoids a default or cuts to Medicare and social security.

In a speech at the Capitol, McCarthy said both parties must agree to end "blank checks for runaway spending" and find a reasonable debt limit, arguing future generations deserve better than high debt and inflation.

"Washington fell for a financial fad," McCarthy said. "That the national debt doesn't matter."

The press conference comes a day before Biden's State of the Union address, during which the president is expected to discuss the clash over the debt ceiling. The two met last week to discuss the issue, and McCarthy said he is expecting a call from Biden to arrange another meeting.

The United States hit its limit of $31.4 trillion last month and is unable to borrow more money until a new ceiling is agreed upon. The Treasury Department has advised Congress to use special funding maneuvers to avoid a default until June.

McCarthy said Republicans will negotiate and seek common ground. He pointed to remarks by then-vice president Biden who negotiated a debt ceiling increase in 2011. "You can’t govern without negotiating," Biden said at the time.

"As a senator, you voted against raising the debt ceiling, Mr. President," McCarthy said, referring to a 2006 vote by Biden against a GOP bill to raise the limit.  "Surely we both agree that the national debt is too high."

McCarthy noted that Democrats increased annual discretionary spending by $400 billion in the last four years. "They took our nation's credit card, spent like crazy, and left us in deep debt," he said.