US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hold a news conference on May 9, 2023, following a highly-anticipated meeting on the debt ceiling at the White House.InternationalIndiaAfricaWASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Republican congressional leaders told reporters after meeting with President Joe Biden and Democrat leaders on Tuesday that there was no new movement on the negotiations to raise the US debt ceiling.However, officials took the opportunity to further indicate they do not expect the United States will default on its debt obligations early June, the deadline earlier given by the US Treasury Department.
"I didn't see any new movement," US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said. "I would hope that he would be willing to negotiate for the next two weeks so we could actually solve this problem and not take America on the brink."
US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was also in attendance at the highly-anticipated meeting, told reporters the United States would by no means default on its debt obligations.”The United States is not going to default. It never has, it never will,” he said. “However, elections have consequences. We now have divided government.”Moments after the Republican leadership held a presser, US House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries remarked in a separate conference that Biden asked congressional leaders to meet as soon as Tuesday evening to resume negotiations on raising the debt ceiling.AmericasMcCarthy Rejects Debt Ceiling Extension Ahead of Meeting With Biden – Reports18:01 GMT”President Biden has asked the four corners of the Capitol along with the administration to get together as early as this evening, if not tomorrow, to make sure that we can have a conversation about the budget, about the appropriations process, about spending and investments and revenue – and all four parties have agreed,” Jeffries told reporters.McCarthy had earlier indicated that he expected staffers to assemble for another round of negotiations on Friday. Biden in his own follow-up news conference confirmed he would be meeting with congressional leadership on Friday.Echoing comments made by McConnell, Biden told press that a US default was “not an option.” He also stated he was prepared to hold separate talks on budget and spending priorities – but not under the threat of default.AmericasWhat is 14th Amendment Biden Not Ready to Invoke & How is It Tied to US Debt Ceiling Crisis6 May, 12:58 GMTBiden also reiterated that he has been “considering the Fourteenth Amendment,” but that it would have to be litigated in court.
The Obama-era Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel earlier detailed the 14th Amendment could be used to circumvent negotiations with Congress, although their legal opinion was never made public.
The amendment states the validity of the US’ public debt "shall not be questioned," leaving room for interpretation as to whether or not it is the purview of the executive branch to unilaterally raise the borrowing limit.
However, the Obama White House never pursued the 14th Amendment route, with former White House spokesperson Jay Carney saying in 2012 the administration determined the president lacks such authority.Aside from McCarthy, McConnell and Jeffries, Biden had also been joined in the Oval Office by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Both Democrats and Republicans have stated they hope to reach an agreement on a long-term deal to raise the debt limit. However, Republicans also want to reduce excessive federal spending as part of an effort to balance the budget.
House Republicans passed a debt ceiling bill in late April; however, it has no chance of clearing the Senate chamber or being signed into law by the US president as both parties oppose amendments listed in the legislation.
Since January, the US has been operating under “extraordinary measures” after the US hit its $31.4 trillion debt limit. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has stated that its temporary fix may run out as early as June 1.