Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy’s Pre-State of the Union Message to President Biden: ‘Time to Get to Work’ on Spending Deal, Debt Ceiling

On Monday, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy called on President Joe Biden to help Congress move toward a balanced budget to ensure the national debt won’t threaten future generations of Americans, find a compromise that cuts federal spending, and negotiate with Republicans on the debt ceiling. 

“Mr. President, congressional Republicans are ready to act  —  to save our country and make America stronger. I hope you will join us,” said McCarthy in a prebuttal to the president’s upcoming Tuesday evening State of the Union address. Representative McCarthy said the excessive federal spending that myriad economists believe contributed significantly to the surging national inflation could not be tolerated any longer. 

While the White House said it would not negotiate with the GOP, McCarthy emphasized both parties have no other choice but to try to reach a deal that extends the debt limit as Democrats insist on but also meet the Republican goal of cutting back on federal spending. 

“Defaulting on our debt is not an option,” said McCarthy. “But neither is a future of higher taxes, higher interest rates, and an economy that doesn’t work for working Americans.”

“A responsible debt limit increase that begins to eliminate wasteful Washington spending and puts us on a path towards a balanced budget is not only the right place to start… It’s the only place to start,” said McCarthy.

The Speaker said the nation observed as Democrats accumulated trillions of dollars in new spending but wanted to know, “does that sound responsible to you?”

“We must return Washington to a basic truth: debt matters,” said McCarthy.

“The choice is clear,” said the Speaker. “We can have reckless spending, or we can have responsibility, but we can’t have both. We can leave our children a future with higher inflation, higher interest rates, and crushing debt, or we can leave them free happiness as God intended.”

McCarthy said that at the government’s current spending pace, it would be spending $8 trillion per year shortly to pay the interest on the national debt, adding up to more than this year’s entire federal budget. The Speaker maintains that all of the spending would continue to push inflation higher.

“Inflation has exploded. Mortgage rates have doubled,” said McCarthy. “Working Americans — after inflation and taxes — have gotten a pay cut. And eggs — a staple of America’s breakfast — have gone from cheap source of protein to a luxury good.”

McCarthy: Biden must negotiate to find “sensible, responsible solutions to our growing national debt”

Rep. McCarthy implored President Biden not to draw “lines in the sand” but instead to negotiate to find “sensible, responsible solutions to our growing national debt.” 

He said he preferred for both sides to meet, as Biden had participated when he served as a senator. McCarthy said “common ground” must be found that allows for a “responsible” increase to the debt ceiling.

“Finding compromise is exactly how governing in America is supposed to work — and exactly what the American people voted for just three months ago,” said McCarthy.

The Speaker emphasized that a balanced budget must become a shared goal of both Democrats and Republicans. “Future generations deserve nothing less.”

The U.S. government hit its borrowing limit last month and is now undertaking “extraordinary measures” to avoid surpassing the $31.4 trillion debt limit. An agreement is needed by early June if the United States defaults on its obligations. 

For the last few weeks, the Biden administration has blamed Republicans for planning spending cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Sunday, the president tweeted that the GOP will cut the programs as part of an effort to cut spending and said he “won’t stand for that.”

However, the message was flagged by Twitter users, who pointed to comments from members of the GOP that cuts to Medicare and Social Security are not being considered. Perhaps anticipating that the president may make the claim in his State of the Union speech, McCarthy repeated, “Cuts to Medicare and Social Security are off the table.