Biden Blames ‘MAGA Republicans’ for Breakdown in Debt Ceiling Talks
President Joe Biden and the Republican Party at loggerheads in the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations as the GOP insists on steep spending cuts and work requirements for aid recipients. Although both Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy sounded hopeful there was a deal to be made just last week, talks appear to have broken down over the last couple days.
Both sides are accusing the other of backsliding in recent talks. Biden — who has been at the G-7 conference in Hiroshima, Japan, the last several days — accused Republicans of going backwards on certain points of negotiation. McCarthy, in turn, claimed Biden’s team was “moving backward in negotiations” on Saturday evening.
In a statement issued Saturday night, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that “the Speaker’s team put on the table an offer that was a big step back and contained a set of extreme partisan demands that could never pass both houses of Congress.”
Republicans have put forward a proposal that includes large spending cuts on domestic programs while increasing defense spending in addition to imposing work requirements for certain aid programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. The GOP also wants to make it more difficult for states to waive work requirements for individuals on federal food assistance living in areas where unemployment is high.
“I’m not going to agree to a deal that protects wealthy tax cheats and crypto traders while putting food assistance at risk for nearly one million Americans,” Biden said.
Biden has signaled he is willing to make certain spending cuts, but he blasted Republicans for refusing to allow increases in tax revenue in order to decrease future budget deficits. The White House has also agreed to spending caps, but the two sides remain divided on how long those spending caps will be in place. Republicans want six years while the White House has offered two years.
In remarks from Japan, the president blasted “MAGA Republicans in the House” for attempting to benefit politically from a U.S. debt default because it would significantly harm the economy, which he said is “the one way to make sure Biden’s not reelected.”
“I think there are some MAGA Republicans in the House who know the damage that it would do to the economy, and because I am president, and the president’s responsible for everything, Biden would take the blame,” the president said.
Biden also mentioned the the possibility of invoking 14th Amendment, which includes a clause that the U.S. must pay its debts, saying he believes he has the authority to use it but that there is not enough time before a default. He added that he wants to “find a rationale and take it to the courts” after the current debt ceiling crisis has ended.
The federal government has less than two weeks until June 1, the date the Treasury Department estimates the nation will no longer be able to pay its bills on time, which would lead to the U.S. defaulting on its debt. Even if the federal government can narrowly avoid default, coming this close to the brink could take a toll on the economy.
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