President Biden and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy Meeting

February 1, 2023

We have different perspectives. But we both laid out some of our vision of where we’d want to get to. And I believe, after laying them both out, I can see where we can find common ground.

United States Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaking to reporters after meeting with President Joe Biden to discuss the nation’s spending and debt ceiling.

Why It Matters: This is the first face-to-face meeting between President Biden and Speaker McCarthy. The topic of conversation? The nation’s debt.

Background: The Republicans and Democrats must reach an agreement for the U.S. debt ceiling to be raised. Investopedia describes the debt ceiling as “the maximum amount of money that the United States can borrow …” The debt ceiling (limit) is currently sitting at $31.4 trillion. If the U.S. government does not raise or suspend ceiling by June, the government will default, not being able to pay its bills. Just before Pres. Biden and McCarthy met on Wednesday, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said, “There is only one way forward here and that’s for Congress to raise the debt ceiling.”

  • McCarthy, a Republican, has said that the two parties must agree to decrease government spending before lifting the debt ceiling. However, the White House has said they must lift the debt ceiling first.
  • On Wednesday, McCarthy and Pres. Biden spoke for more than an hour on these two issues. While McCarthy said, “To really be able to do this right, I’m not going to negotiate this in the press,” he also noted that he thought it was a “good meeting,” and that the two promised they would “continue the conversation,” continuing, “… at the end of the day, we can find common ground.”
  • Speaker McCarthy added: “This is exactly how government in America is designed, that you have to find compromise. The American people made a decision to have a Republicans in power in the House. The Democrats have a small majority in the Senate and the Democrats have a President. But we’re all Americans and we all have to work together.”

Readout of President Biden’s Meeting with Speaker McCarthy (The White House)

Biden, McCarthy found ‘common ground’ in debt meeting, House Speaker says (Reuters)

Biden-McCarthy meeting yields no debt ceiling deal, but speaker says markets should be encouraged (CNBC)

by Jenna Lee,