Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday evening at the U.S. Capitol that he would meet with President Joe Biden Friday to discuss the debt limit and said he would oppose the president’s usage of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in an attempt to skirt the House GOP altogether on the borrowing limit.
“I didn’t find progress in this meeting. Staff will continue to meet, and we’ll get back together on Friday, and hopefully, the president then can change the path on the last 97 days,” said McCarthy, a Republican from California. The speaker was referencing the time between the meeting on Tuesday and the first sit-down on the debt ceiling on February 1.
McCarthy confirmed their staffs would meet “to see if we could find places that we could find savings and be able to come to an agreement on the debt ceiling,” despite the facts Democrats insist they won’t pair action on the debt ceiling with budget talks.
The speaker was also asked about Biden’s comments at his own recent press conference, which, similar to McCarthy’s, were announced after the meeting at the White House.
President Biden told reporters, “I have been considering the 14th Amendment…but the problem is, it would have to be litigated. And in the meantime, without an extension, we still end up in the same place.”
The president is referencing a specific clause in the Amendment to the Constitution that states, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”
Rep. McCarthy scoffed when asked if he would oppose President Biden invoking the statute to act on the debt limit.
“Well, yeah,” said McCarthy. “Really think about this, if you’re the leader of the free world…and you’re going to the 14th Amendment to look at something like that, I would think you’re kind of a failure in working with people across the sides of the aisle or working with your own party to get something done.”
The speaker said the 14th Amendment should have been mentioned at the earlier meeting.
Sticking point: White House’s insistence GOP plan would harm veterans
Another contentious point during the face-to-face meeting, McCarthy said, was the White House’s repeated insistence that spending cuts in Republicans’ Limit, Save, Grow Act would harm veterans and their care programs.
“We brought up the veterans. It’s a lie,” said McCarthy. “This is a political game they’re trying to play instead of sitting down and really negotiating.”
The speaker said he told the president directly that the claim was a “lie” but denied he called the president a liar.