Biden ‘happy to meet’ with McCarthy but says raising debt limit ‘not negotiable’

President Biden on Wednesday said raising the debt limit is “not negotiable” as House Republicans prepare to pass a bill that would pair a debt limit increase with government spending cuts.

“I’m happy to meet with [Speaker] McCarthy, but not on whether or not the debt limit gets extended. That’s not negotiable,” Biden told reporters at the end of a press conference with the South Korean president in the White House Rose Garden.

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Biden pointed to former Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, who during their respective times in office advocated for raising the debt limit.

The president has taken a hard-line stance that Congress should raise the debt limit without conditions. He and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) have not spoken about the issue since a meeting at the White House on Feb. 1.

The Treasury Department has warned that the debt limit must be raised by this summer, or the U.S. will default, which would have catastrophic economic consequences that would likely see price increases, job losses and a downturn for financial markets.

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Biden spoke at the White House as Republicans were preparing to vote on legislation — dubbed the Limit, Save, Grow Act — that would cap government funding hashed out by lawmakers annually as part of the appropriations process at fiscal 2022 levels, a move Democrats warn could amount to steep cuts to popular programs.

The measure would also limit spending growth to 1 percent annually over the next decade with a slew of other proposals aimed at curbing spending, including rolling back several Biden administration actions on student loans and beefing up work requirements for government assistance programs.

The White House has already said Biden would veto the measure if it passed the House and Senate and reached his desk, though Republicans are hoping to use the bill to bring Biden to the negotiating table amid broader debate over the debt ceiling.

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