Valhalla, N.Y.: President Joe Biden on Wednesday blasted Republican-demanded spending cuts as “devastating,” making his case in a campaign-style speech to voters as lawmakers met in Washington on raising the government’s borrowing limit to avoid a potentially catastrophic U.S. default.
The president is showing an increased willingness to discuss possible budget restraints, yet he insisted that any talks on that should occur without the risk of the federal government being unable to pay its bills. As he spoke, negotiators from the White House and Congress met for two hours privately at the Capitol to discuss a path forward.
“America is the strongest economy in the world, but we should be cutting spending and lowering the deficit without a needless crisis,” Biden said Wednesday.
His words were a challenge to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who met Tuesday with Biden at the White House, declaring afterward that sharp spending cuts were required for House Republicans to increase the debt limit and stave off the risk of default.
Biden laid into that GOP proposal on Wednesday in Valhalla, New York, saying spending cuts recently passed by the Republican House could hurt schools and the country’s “sacred” obligations to military veterans.
The faceoff comes as the government is rapidly bumping up against its legal borrowing authority, meaning that it may not be able to pay its bills as early as the start of next month unless lawmakers agree to lift the limit. Negotiations between the White House and Congress are expected to resume Thursday.