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White House says ‘will not negotiate’ on debt ceiling extension

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President Joe Biden will not negotiate with Republicans on their push to make spending cuts a precondition for extending the US debt ceiling and avoiding a disastrous default, the White House said Tuesday.

“This is not an issue that we will negotiate on,” Press Secretary Karine Jeane-Pierre said.

Biden has offered to meet the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, for crisis talks at the White House next week. However, he is doubling down on a refusal to link Republican spending cut goals to the usually uncontroversial accounting procedure to allow more government borrowing.

Without a debt ceiling extension, the federal government could run out of money and default on debts as early as June 1, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Jean-Pierre said Biden was willing to discuss “a separate process to address budget” cuts but said the debt ceiling issue should be entirely set aside.

“It is Congress’ constitutional duty to prevent default,” she said. “Given the limited time Congress now has, it is clear that the only practical path to avoid default is for Congress to suspend the debt limit without conditions.”

In addition, Biden views McCarthy’s proposed spending cuts as “unreasonable” and “dangerous,” she said.

Republicans in the House, who have a narrow majority, have passed a proposed bill that would allow extending the debt ceiling in return for steep spending cuts across an array of government programs. It has virtually no chance of passing the Democratic-led Senate.

Typically, US debt authority is renewed with little debate.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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