Accokeek, Md.: President Joe Biden lambasted Republicans’ emerging trade-off plans to raise the nation’s debt limit only in exchange for spending cuts and other policy concessions on Wednesday, declaring that GOP lawmakers are threatening a historic default on U.S. obligations “unless I agree to all these wacko notions they have.”
His remarks in a union hall speech came as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who had for months struggled to unite Republicans around a unified budget proposal, released a sweeping spending-restraint plan to offer to the White House along with lifting the debt limit by $1.5 trillion.
But it’s far from settled whether McCarthy has 218 Republican votes — a House majority — in favor of his proposal, which has no chance of becoming law in the Senate and is meant to kickstart negotiations with the administration. Cruising toward the crisis, if Congress and Biden can’t agree to raise the limit in coming weeks, the government would be at risk of being unable to pay its bills and facing an economy-ravaging default.
This week’s split-screen presentations, which began with McCarthy delivering a speech on Wall Street, vividly displayed how Biden and the speaker are talking to two very different Americas.
Standing in a steel garage and workshop, Biden pointedly noted the contrast, telling the members of International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 77 that while “I’m here in the union hall with you, Speaker McCarthy just got finished speaking to Wall Street two days ago.”
Biden emphasized that strictly limiting government spending programs could hurt a middle class that’s already struggling to afford basic needs. And demanding concessions in exchange for paying the nation’s debts is “worse than totally irresponsible,” Biden said, declaring that “America is not a deadbeat nation.”