Jean-Pierre Cuts off Reporter, Grows Visibly Angry Over Question on Biden’s Budget Responsibilities

Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, got into a verbal spat Thursday, becoming visibly frustrated when pushed on President Biden’s responsibilities in the process of agreeing with Congress on a budget. 

During the White House daily press briefing, Jean-Pierre cut off Kristen Welker of NBC News, as she suggested the president was putting the financial health of the nation at risk by dragging out the budget process after the GOP announced their proposals, which they stated must coincide with raising the debt limit.

“It’s not the president that’s risking this,” said Jean-Pierre, appearing angry. Welker continued, attempting to speak, but Jean-Pierre raised her voice, saying, “No. It is Congress that is risking this.”

“These political stunts that you’re seeing from Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy and the MAGA wing — this is dangerous. These are political stunts that will have long-lasting effects, as you just laid out,” said Jean-Pierre.

Jean-Pierre repeats call on GOP to bring legislation to the House floor

The press secretary repeated a line she often uses, repeating a call on Republicans to bring legislation to the floor to prevent the nation from defaulting and raise the debt ceiling, but added that it was not a negotiation and no conditions should be added.

“But doesn’t everyone bear responsibility, including — and especially — the president?” asked Welker.

“The responsibility to make sure that we do not default? It sits in the hands of Congress. And right now, it is Speaker McCarthy and the MAGA wing…of the Republican conference. It is up to them to get this done. They are wasting time. And I’ve already laid out what they did propose, how much that’s going to hurt American families who are trying to make ends meet,” responded Jean-Pierre.

Welker cited a one-line from Biden concerning the Biden, telling Jean-Pierre, “The president said, ‘Show me your budget.’ He didn’t say, ‘Show me a budget that I agree with.'” Welker continued but was interrupted again by Jean-Pierre. 

“Well, you have to finish — you have to finish the statement. He said — well, you have to finish what he said,” Jean-Pierre said as Welker continued to attempt to ask a question. “The statement that he made — his quote is, ‘Show me your budget, and I’ll show you what you value.’ That’s what the president said. And by looking at this blueprint, by looking at the plan, they are certainly showing us their value.”

“I guess the question is, isn’t the ball in the president’s court?” asked Welker. 

“I already answered the question, Kristen, many, many times,” said Jean-Pierre. “This is a constitutional duty that Congress has, and Speaker McCarthy is playing games. He is wasting the time of the American people. This is a political stunt, and he has to act. He is wasting the time of the American people. This is a political stunt, and he has to act. He has to act. And what he showed us yesterday — he aligned himself with the MAGA wing of the party.”

Republicans in the House have indicated they will have a bill on the debt limit ready next week. However, the details still need to be clarified. Speaker McCarthy revealed Monday that the legislation aims to lift the debt ceiling for a year while capping the discretionary spending at the fiscal year 2022 levels.