Biden is trying to resolve negotiations with the Republicans to avoid a debt default
Ten days before the US public debt reached its legally defined ceiling, President Joe Biden, Monday, at the outset of a meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, expressed his hope that an agreement could be reached with the Republican opposition that would spare the United States failure for the first time in its history to pay its debts.
At the beginning of their meeting at the White House, Biden said, “I’m optimistic that we will make progress”.
For his part, McCarthy said he hoped “we’ll find common ground by the end of the day”.
There are only ten days left for the United States to raise the public debt ceiling or suspend its work, under penalty of its failure to pay its debt dues.
The contradiction was clear between Biden’s messages of unity during the G7 summit in Japan, from which the US president had just returned, and the tension he faced upon his return.
Biden and McCarthy met twice in two weeks in the Oval Office.
Also, the two men spoke by phone on Sunday.
McCarthy described the call as constructive, while Biden said it was very good.
These encouraging signs come after a less positive weekend.
Negotiations between the White House team and the Republicans ended badly.
The Democratic administration and the Republican opposition are racing against time to avoid the possibility of the United States defaulting on its obligations after June 1.
The Republicans require that Biden agree to a significant reduction in budget expenditures in return for their agreement to raise the debt ceiling, while the Democrats accuse them of using tactics to advance their political agenda, endangering the US economy.
Although raising the debt ceiling is usually a routine process, in recent years it has become a point of contention with Republican lawmakers seeking to obtain spending cuts in return for raising the ceiling.
The Speaker of the Republican House wrote on Twitter, “My position hasn’t changed… Washington can’t keep spending money we don’t have… We’ll meet tomorrow in person to continue negotiations”.
Biden warned in a tweet that he would reject an agreement that “protects billions of dollars in subsidies for major oil companies and endangers health care for 21 million Americans, or protects the rich from tax fraud and endangers food aid for one million Americans”.
The US Treasury Department warned of dire consequences if the state runs out of cash to pay its entitlements, making it unable to pay federal employees and potentially leading to higher interest rates with spillover effects on businesses, mortgages and global markets.
The US president who knows very well that a possible economic defeat, whatever its political source, would threaten his chances of re-election?
McCarthy on the other hand, whose position rests on a handful of radical members of Congress calling on him, as does former President Donald Trump, to disobey?
Likewise, the left wing of the Democratic Party is also pushing Biden not to yield and resort to Article 14, which was added to the US Constitution in 1868, and stipulates that the validity of the public debt of the United States permitted by law shall not be in doubt”.
In other words, the expenses which was approved by the vote must be respected.
This means that the US president will act as if the debt ceiling does not exist.
Biden is studying this possibility fraught with legal risks, especially when he is facing a Supreme Court that leans heavily to the right.