McCarthy rebrands looming debt ceiling breach: ‘Biden default’

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is setting up to pin a looming possible financial crisis on President Biden, the Republican leader indicated on Wednesday, declaring that it would be the “Biden default” if an agreement is not reached in time on raising the debt limit. 

“Our debt is larger than our economy, by more than 20%. If we do nothing, we will pay more in interest in the next ten years than we paid in the last 83,” the speaker said at a press conference. “If we do nothing, and you follow along…God forbid you get a Biden default because he ignores the problem just as he ignored the border.”

McCarthy made an unannounced appearance at the press event, which featured more than two dozen Republican lawmakers across the House and Senate, touting Democrats’ apparent concession to negotiate on the debt ceiling after insisting on a “clean” increase of the borrowing limit for months. 

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Biden had his second meeting on the debt limit with McCarthy and other Congressional leaders on Tuesday, just before jetting off to Japan for the Group of 7 summit.

Talks have so far resulted in little movement, with Democrats maintaining their position and Republicans demanding spending cuts drawn out in their Limit, Save, Grow Act be paired with any increase of the debt ceiling. But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer appeared to change his tune after the sit-down, telling reporters, “Hopefully we can come to an agreement…Having a bipartisan bill in both chambers is the only way we’re going to avoid default.”

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McCarthy took a victory lap over the development on Wednesday. “Now the president and Leader Schumer have finally backed off their idea that they won’t negotiate. They finally backed off the insane un-rational, un-sensible idea that you just raise the debt ceiling,” he said. 

However, despite the seemingly modest progress, Republicans have signaled that they still have knives out for Biden if a deal is not made by June 1, around when the U.S. is expected to run out of cash to pay all of its obligations.

McCarthy referenced the “Biden default” at another point in the press conference, declaring, “This is a moment in time to make that stand. The only question is whether we have a Biden default or not.”

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He and the other Republicans gathered also laughed off a reporter’s question on Biden stating he would not accept work requirements “of consequence” for federal benefits, a cornerstone of the House GOP’s bill.

Amid the roaring laughter a lawmaker could be heard shouting “Loser!”

“Anything that has consequence…this is a senator who voted for work requirements,” McCarthy answered, referencing Biden’s voting history as a U.S. senator from Delaware.

“If he doesn’t want to have something that has consequences, he wants to borrow more money from China to pay an able-bodied person who has no dependents, not even to look for a job, not even go to school for 20 hours.”

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