President Biden Meets With Congressional Leaders on Debt Ceiling

May 9, 2023
The White House

Everybody in this meeting reiterated the positions they were at. I didn’t see any new movement.

U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaking to reporters after he and other congressional leaders met with President Joe Biden at the White House to discuss the debt ceiling; Pres. Biden described the meeting as “productive.”

What To Know: The debt ceiling is the amount of money the federal government is allowed to borrow to fund government operations. Congress must reach an agreement for it to be raised or suspended to continue paying the country’s bills (U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the federal government could run out of money to pay these obligations as soon as June 1). The House and Senate have yet to agree on a plan, but talks continue this week, including at the White House. On Tuesday, House speaker McCarthy met with President Biden for the first time since February 1. This meeting included other top congressional leaders, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY); the leaders will meet in person again on Friday to continue their discussion.

McCarthy has said 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.

Why It Matters: The U.S has never defaulted on its debt, so if this were to happen, the impact remains TBD. Some believe even a momentary lapse could have catastrophic impact, both internationally and domestically – such as igniting stock market turmoil, weakening the U.S. dollar and leaving some unpaid. The current U.S. debt is sitting at $31.4 trillion; since 1960, the ceiling has been raised 78 times.

WATCH: Two Sides: Debt Ceiling Debate (SmartHER News)

Biden, McCarthy debt ceiling talks wrap as clock ticks to US debt (Reuters)

Biden, congressional leaders meet to avert default (The Associated Press)

by Jenna Lee,