Biden, McCarthy meet face-to-face on debt crisis worries

Washington: President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met face-to-face Wednesday for more than an hour of highly anticipated budget talks — “a good first meeting,” the new Republican leader said — but expectations were low for quick progress as GOP lawmakers push for steep cuts in a deal to prevent a national debt limit crisis.

Biden has resisted direct spending negotiations linked to vital action raising the nation’s legal debt ceiling, warning against potentially throwing the economy into chaos.

McCarthy had all but invited himself to the White House to start the conversation before a summer debt deadline. And he emerged saying the meeting went better than expected: The two agreed to meet again, and the speaker said he expected to hear from Biden soon.

“No agreement, no promises except we will continue this conversation,” McCarthy told reporters outside the White House.

He said he told the president he would not raise the debt ceiling without concessions from Democrats.

“I was very clear,” he said. “We’re not spending more next year than we spent this year.”

And Biden’s response? McCarthy said the president insisted on a “clean debt ceiling” vote without the budget cuts Republicans are demanding.

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