President Joe Biden and Barely Speaker Kevin McCarthy had their first meeting Wednesday to discuss moving forward with policy, the budget for 2024, and the debt ceiling issue. As of two weeks ago, the U.S. had hit the limit of its borrowing capacity, the congressionally imposed limit on the level of debt that the federal government can assume. Creative financing will keep the government going for several months, but the meter is definitely running now.
The President apparently had mixed results in getting McCarthy to comprehend the gravity of the situation, judging by McCarthy’s post-meeting press conference. He bounded out of the meeting with big golden lab puppy energy, clearly buoyed at getting to sit at the grown-ups' table.
“The president and I had a first good meeting—I shared my perspective with him, he shared his,” McCarthy said afterward. “No agreements, no promises, except that we would continue this conversation.” He added a garbled summation: “There’s nothing in there but me walking away that does not believe at the end of the day we can come to an agreement.”
The White House was more circumspect in its statement following the meeting. It was “a frank and straightforward dialogue,” according to the White House, that had one overriding message: “President Biden made clear that, as every other leader in both parties in Congress has affirmed, it is their shared duty not to allow an unprecedented and economically catastrophic default.”
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“The United States Constitution is explicit about this obligation, and the American people expect Congress to meet it in the same way all of his predecessors have. It is not negotiable or conditional,” the statement continues, adding that Biden “welcomes a separate discussion with congressional leaders about how to reduce the deficit and control the national debt while continuing to grow the economy.”
They’re going to have to repeat that message over and over and over again, in very clear and simple language, for McCarthy to comprehend it, however. Because he continues to fail at the first part of his assignment from Biden: committing to the “bedrock principle that the United States will never default on its financial obligation.”
Asked by reporters if he made that commitment, McCarthy wouldn’t answer.
There’s a load of dangerous nonsense, spoken by someone who is clearly in over his head. He seems to be operating on the assumption that they can go ahead and break it and somehow control the economic and political catastrophe that would follow.
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, President at NextGen America, is back to talk with us about young voters. She talks about whether the rising numbers of young voters we saw during the midterms are sustainable, and what still needs to be done to achieve more young voter participation in our democracy as we progress toward a better America.