President Biden on Sunday praised the bipartisan deal struck with House Republicans to lift the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts, but doubled down in his refusal to say that he gave away anything significant in the negotiations.
“It’s a really important step forward,” the president said at the White House. “It takes the threat of catastrophic default off the table, protects our hard-earned economic recovery and the agreement also represents a compromise which means no one got everything they want. But that’s the responsibility of governing.”
The White House and congressional Democrats have pushed the narrative that discussions to raise the $31.4 trillion debt limit and cut the federal budget were “separate but simultaneous,” despite the two being negotiated in the same bipartisan deal.
Mr. Biden contended that he only compromised on spending — not the debt ceiling.
“[Republicans] want to try and make it look like I made some compromise on the debt ceiling. I didn’t,” the president told reporters. “I made a compromise on the budget.”
The rhetoric was reminiscent of the opposition from Democrats to negotiating at all, with the White House waiting months to begin talks with House Republicans as the president demanded an increase in the borrowing limit without conditions.
The House is set to return Tuesday to begin consideration of the legislation. The Senate will follow suit after the House and could end up working through next weekend to run out the procedural clock before the U.S. hits its June 5 default deadline.
However, the agreement has drawn bipartisan backlash. Conservatives say it doesn’t slash spending enough, while liberals say the strengthening of proposed welfare work requirements are too drastic.
Asked about Democrats who worry that he gave away too much, Mr. Biden responded: “They’ll find I didn’t.”
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