Biden-McCarthy Meeting ‘Productive,’ But No Debt Limit Deal

The hour-and-a-half session didn't lead to any major breakthroughs with the clock ticking on a potential default.


The White House and Republicans did not reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling Monday amid a fresh warning that the deadline to avoid a U.S. default is rapidly approaching.

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) both said their meeting at the White House was "productive." McCarthy also said the "tone" was better than their previous discussions.

But the hour-and-a-half session did not appear to result in any significant breakthroughs. When asked what agreements McCarthy and Biden came to, the House speaker only said that they agree they "want to be able to come to an agreement" and on the areas they "know there's disagreement on," without offering any specifics.

McCarthy said that everything is on the table, including adjusting work requirements for some federal benefits.

(Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

He also reiterated that he's opposed to any move to raise revenue as part of the deal.

“There's nothing agreed to," McCarthy said. "Everything's being talked about.”

McCarthy said he thinks he and Biden will speak every day until the debt ceiling issue is resolved. He added that staff members would pick up talks Monday night.

"We reiterated once again that default is off the table and the only way to move forward is in good faith toward a bipartisan agreement," Biden said in a statement.

The pressure is rising to reach an agreement, with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen writing in a letter to McCarthy on Monday that it is "highly likely" the government would not be able to pay its bills as early as June 1 if the debt limit isn't raised.

"I believe we can get it done," McCarthy said on reaching a deal before June 1.

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), who's aiding McCarthy on the debt ceiling negotiations, said there was no "acrimony" between the two sides, but added that he he sensed “a lack of urgency” from the White House.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said at the Capitol that House Republicans have been “hostage-taking” instead of negotiating. Jeffries said that House Democrats were willing to discuss freezing federal spending at current levels, but that Republicans rejected that idea, wanting to cut spending.

“Part of the challenge that we are confronting … is that Republicans are asking for extreme right-wing policy changes,” he said. “And in exchange, they’re saying what the American people will receive in return is us doing our responsibility to protect the full faith and credit of the United States. That’s unreasonable.”

Prior to the meeting, Biden said he agreed they needed to cut spending as part of a deal, but that he wanted to look at "some tax loopholes to make sure the wealthy pay their fair share."

“We still have some disagreements, but I think maybe we’ll get where we have to go," Biden said. "We both know we have a significant responsibility.”

The Oval Office meeting came after talks between the two sides hit a snag Friday. But meetings for the two parties’ negotiators were back on Sunday evening and Monday morning — both lasting for more than two hours.

McCarthy said ahead of his meeting with Biden Monday that it's possible to get a deal through Congress by June 1, but it would need to be struck this week.

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