President Joe Biden concluded three days of talks with G-7 leaders and other allies by expressing a firm stance in the debt ceiling talks happening in Washington that were overshadowed by this weekend-long summit.
The president, who said he would call House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from Air Force One on his way back, placed the responsibility on Republicans to compromise.
He said that he and McCarthy and other congressional leaders had agreed that a bipartisan bill was the only way to proceed. “I’ve done my part. … Now the other side needs to compromise because their proposals are mostly, honestly, unacceptable.”
Biden said he would not accept the work requirements Republicans want on food aid programs, for example, if GOP negotiators reject raising revenues. “I’m not going to agree to a deal that shields rich tax evaders and crypto traders while endangering food assistance for almost 1 million Americans,” he said.
Biden also indicated that using the 14th Amendment to increase the nation’s debt limit and prevent a possible default was still an option, but probably not a feasible one in the short term with the default deadline maybe only a few weeks away.
“I think we have the power. The question is whether it could be done and applied in time,” Biden said. “That’s a question that I think is unclear.”
The president digressed at length about how he’s already lowered the country’s deficit by $1.7 trillion. He said he has already consented in current talks to $1 trillion in reductions to baseline spending. And he urged Republicans to think about his proposal to raise revenues.
“Revenue is not off limits,” he said. “It’s time for Republicans to admit that there is no bipartisan deal to be reached only — only — on their partisan conditions. They have to compromise as well.”
Biden was hopeful that talks could resume smoothly once he’s back in Washington, despite all the changes and challenges in negotiations since he left for Japan on Wednesday.
“He’ll probably want to talk to me directly to make sure we’re on the same page,” he said of the House leader.
“I’m hoping Speaker McCarthy is just holding off to negotiate with me.”