President Biden on Sunday urged Congress to pass a bipartisan budget agreement he brokered with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as the bill text was finalized, and he downplayed any doubts about the final outcome or his negotiating strategy.
Biden delivered remarks shortly after speaking with McCarthy on the phone, calling the agreed upon budget deal “good news” that will take default off the table by raising the debt ceiling.
“That agreement now goes to U.S. House and to the Senate,” Biden said. “I strongly urge both chambers to pass that agreement. Let’s keep moving forward in meeting our obligations.”
The final agreement raises the debt ceiling for two years, kicking the issue past the 2024 election. It also includes deals on added work requirements for certain individuals receiving government assistance, claws back COVID-19 relief funds, and sets spending caps for the coming fiscal year.
Biden took questions after his brief remarks, where he was pressed on the negotiations that took center stage in Washington over the past two weeks. The president insisted that he did not negotiate with Republicans over the debt ceiling, instead arguing that he came to the table for talks on spending cuts so that the House controlled GOP would move to lift the debt ceiling and avoid default.
“I made a compromise on the budget,” Biden said. “Could you think of an alternative?”
The president brushed aside concerns from lawmakers who worried he gave away too many concessions, saying, “They’ll find I didn’t.”
McCarthy had repeatedly criticized Biden throughout the process for not starting up negotiations earlier in the year, complaining that the White House had only gotten serious about talks in recent days when the threat of default was much closer.
Asked if he regretted not starting negotiations sooner, Biden said, “No. It wouldn’t have made any difference.”
Source: The Hill