Washington: There was Kevin McCarthy, saying the White House was refusing to give on spending as the speaker returned to the Capitol one morning this week. Just a few short hours later, there was McCarthy again, this time telling reporters that the sole concession that Republicans were making to the White House on the debt limit was, in fact, raising the debt limit.
As representatives from the White House and the GOP-controlled House race toward a deal that would pave the way for lawmakers to lift the debt limit, one side has been eager to speak publicly about the closed-door talks — trying to shape public perceptions of the negotiations.
It’s not the side that typically wields the bully pulpit.
President Joe Biden has made a deliberate decision to go quiet as his team gets down to the wire in the debt-limit talks, according to White House officials. Biden has said little publicly on the standoff since he returned from an international summit earlier this week to deal with the debt disarray in Washington.
He spoke for less than three minutes as he opened an Oval Office meeting with McCarthy late Monday afternoon, but aside from that, has not talked in public about the issue.
“We have to get an agreement that’s worthy of the American people,” the speaker told a small clutch of reporters outside the House chamber late Wednesday afternoon, which — by his aides’ count — was at least his 12th gaggle or news conference with reporters this week alone.