With the predicted “X-date” – the day the U.S. runs out of money to pay the bills – looming in early June, Democrats and Republicans are at an impasse.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield0 and House Republicans want to tie a debt limit increase to budget cuts, while the President Joe Biden and the White House insist on a “clean” increase, without strings.
Driving the News: Congressional leaders are set to meet again on Tuesday to discuss the nation’s $31.4 billion deficit, just a day before President Biden leaves for the Indo-Pacific. The White House and McCarthy both said staff talks had been productive after their meeting last week, but neither side saw a concrete solution on the horizon.
- Senate Democrats are encouraging Biden to employ the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally if Republicans refuse to pass a clean debt-ceiling increase, while Republicans are criticizing the possibility as pure partisanship and a defiance of recent history, noting that seven of the past debt-limit increases were attached to budget deals.
- Biden told reporters last Tuesday there have been discussions about whether or not the 14th Amendment can be invoked, but cautioned the approach, adding, “I don’t think that solves our problem now. I think that only solves your problem if, once the court has ruled that it does apply for future endeavors.”
- Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo dismissed the idea of using the 14th Amendment, telling CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” that “the only thing that can solve our problems now is for Congress to lift the debt limit, which they’ve done, by the way, 78 times.”
- Biden is embarking on an eight-day trip to the Indo-Pacific on Wednesday, where he’ll look to tighten bonds with longtime allies and demonstrate his administration’s commitment to the region.
- The White House said Biden’s trip is set to go forward as planned even though talks over a looming government default have yet to bear fruit.
What they’re saying: A top economic advisor poured cold water on the idea that the White House could be looking for a short-term debt ceiling extension.
- “Short-term is not a fix,” White House National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard said on CBS’s “Face The Nation.” “It’s just really important to take default and address it, and Congress has the tools to do that.”
- “I asked the president this simple question, Does he not believe there’s any place we could find savings,” McCarthy told reporters outside the White House. “All I’m asking is that we spend the amount of money we spent five months ago.”