President Biden on Tuesday questioned House Republicans’ push to cut spending in exchange for raising the debt limit, asserting that his administration had already lowered the deficit and saved taxpayer dollars.
Mr. Biden said that he was happy to enter into negotiations on the budget with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, but that those talks should be separate from raising the debt limit.
“I’ve already cut the deficit by $1.7 trillion in my first two years in office,” said Mr. Biden. “The budget just submitted to Congress cuts another $3 trillion in debt over the next 10 years.”
Fact-checkers have refuted Mr. Biden’s purported amount of deficit reduction, saying he’s relying on a corporate minimum tax that only went into effect in January.
Mr. Biden said that the $6.8 trillion budget he proposed earlier this year would save taxpayers $200 billion by expanding Medicare’s ability to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs. The president also noted that he supported gutting “tax subsidies for Big Oil.”
“I’ve made it clear that we can cut spending and cut the deficit,” said Mr. Biden. “Kevin McCarthy is offering a very different way forward.”
Mr. Biden said that House Republicans were trying to take the debt limit hostage to force through spending cuts that would hurt average Americans. The comments came shortly after Mr. Biden met with Congressional leaders at the White House to discuss the debt limit.
While there was no breakthrough, the White House is launching negotiations with House Republicans on government spending.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said the negotiations will be separate from raising the debt limit of roughly $31.4 trillion. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned Congress that the government will be unable to pay some of its obligations as soon as June 1.
“The president asked all four of the leaders and himself to start sitting down as early as tonight … to see where we can come to an agreement on the budget and the appropriations process,” said Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat. “There are probably some places we can agree, in some places we can compromise hopefully.”
Mr. McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch Mcconnell, however, say any budget cuts will have to be paired with legislation raising the debt ceiling.
“Seven of the last ten debt limit increases were attached to bipartisan government spending deals,” said Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican. “All three of the debt limit increases from 2017 through 2020 were attached to bipartisan government spending deals. So there’s no reason why our country should be drifting toward crisis.”
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