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White House signals Biden will meet with McCarthy in coming weeks

The White House on Friday indicated President Biden will have a sit-down with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) early this year, but clarified there is no confirmed date on the calendar yet.

“President Biden looks forward to meeting with Speaker McCarthy to discuss a range of issues, as part of a series of meetings with all new Congressional leaders to start the year,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

Jean-Pierre’s statement appeared designed to address some confusion after McCarthy said he had accepted Biden’s invitation to meet.

Biden, in remarks to dozens of mayors at the White House on Friday, was speaking about the national debt when he said: “We’re going to have a little discussion about that with the new majority leader of the House.”

“President Biden: I accept your invitation to sit down and discuss a responsible debt ceiling increase to address irresponsible government spending. I look forward to our meeting,” McCarthy wrote on Twitter, seemingly in response to the president’s comments.

Jean-Pierre said Biden will meet next Tuesday with Democratic congressional leaders. But when asked about a possible meeting with McCarthy, she said she did not have a date to announce for a potential conversation between Biden and the Speaker.

Both the president and the Speaker are expected to discuss the debt ceiling, which must be raised in the coming months by Congress to avoid a default.

The White House has staked out its position that Congress should raise the debt ceiling without conditions related to spending cuts. Republicans, who hold the majority in the House, have signaled they will use negotiations over the debt limit to secure commitments on spending cuts.

Biden, in his comments to the mayors, explained that the national debt accounts for spending that has already been approved by Congress, not future spending.

The Treasury Department has enacted “extraordinary measures” that will give lawmakers until roughly June to reach an agreement. If the country defaults on its debt, economists have warned it will lead to cuts in government services, job losses and damage to financial markets.

“Like the President has said many times, raising the debt ceiling is not a negotiation; it is an obligation of this country and its leaders to avoid economic chaos,” Jean-Pierre said in Friday’s statements. “Congress has always done it, and the President expects them to do their duty once again. That is not negotiable.”

“We are going to have a clear debate on two different visions for the country – one that cuts Social Security, and one that protects it – and the President is happy to discuss that with the Speaker,” Jean-Pierre added.

Source: The Hill

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