President Joe Biden is meeting with the top four members of Congress Tuesday afternoon, as Republicans and Democrats still appear to have made no progress on an agreement to address the looming debt ceiling crisis.
Mr. Biden, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are gathering in the Oval Office at 4 p.m.
Republicans would raise the limit on the country’s borrowing authority in exchange for spending cuts, while Democrats, including Mr. Biden, want to increase the debt limit without any conditions attached. Neither side appears willing to budge, for now. Mr. Biden insists the debt ceiling is Congress’ responsibility to handle, while Republicans say Mr. Biden and Democrats on Capitol Hill must compromise on spending.
“The fact that there’s a meeting in the Oval Office with the four leaders tomorrow I think is an important thing,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during Monday’s press briefing. “I think that shows the American people how important it is, that shows that the president wants to bring them together to have this conversation. The president has been very clear — this is Congress’ constitutional duty to take action, to not default. He’s going to continue to reiterate that, as he should.”
Jean-Pierre said the president is willing to have a “separate” conversation about the budget, but the debt limit needs to be addressed first.
Mr. Biden and McCarthy met on Feb. 1 to discuss the debt limit and other topics, but little progress has been made.
On “Face the Nation” Sunday, House Financial Services Committee chair Rep. Patrick McHenry said Republicans have no “red lines” in negotiations, “other than that we have to address our fiscal house at a time when federal spending is up more than 40% from pre-COVID levels.”
The House has taken some action, although it’s unlikely to go anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Republicans passed a bill that would significantly reduce spending in exchange for increasing the debt limit. The bill would increase the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion or until the end of March 2024, whichever arrives first, while cutting spending by $4.5 trillion. Mr. Biden has vowed to veto the bill, in the unlikely event that it would reach his desk.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen estimates the U.S. has until about June 1 until the nation could default if Congress does not raise or suspend the debt limit.
How to watch Biden’s meeting with congressional leaders on the debt limit
- What: President Biden meets with the top four leaders in Congress
- Date: May 9, 2023
- Time: 4 p.m. ET
- Location: Oval Office, White House, Washington, D.C.
- Online stream: Live on CBS News streaming in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device