Biden must drop ‘absolutist’ position in debt ceiling talks with McCarthy, think tanks warn

FIRST ON FOX: Three Washington, D.C., think tanks are calling on President Biden to drop his “absolutist” position on debt limit talks ahead of his planned meeting with congressional leaders on Tuesday and agree to consider spending cuts as part of those discussions. “The Vice President of the United States was correct, when he said in 2010, that ‘it’s in everyone’s interest politically to cooperate’ on raising the debt limit. In 2011, he criticized those ‘taking an absolutist position: my way or no way. That’s not governing. That’s no way to govern.’ Mr. President, you made those statements. We agree with them,” the groups wrote in a letter to Biden. “We now ask you – we urge you – to work in good faith with congressional members of both parties to raise the debt limit while improving the federal government’s budget outlook,” wrote Americans For Prosperity, the National Taxpayers Union and America First Policy Institute. Biden called Tuesday’s meeting in an effort to resolve a weeks-long standoff over raising the government’s borrowing limit. Republicans have refused to allow more borrowing unless it is tied to cuts that total roughly $150 billion in discretionary spending, while Democrats say Congress must pass a “clean” debt ceiling raise with no preconditions. HOUSE PASSES MCCARTHY’S DEBT CEILING BILL BY TWO VOTES; FOUR REPUBLICANS VOTE AGAINST The Tuesday meeting will be the first time that the president, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., meet together in their current roles. “Simply showing up isn’t enough,” the three think tanks wrote to Biden. “The American people expect the stewards of the public trust in Congress and the White House to seek and to find common ground that continually improves the value they get from their government.” The letter urged Biden to consider House Republicans’ recently-passed Limit, Save, Grow Act, which is designed to lift the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion or through March 2024, while also cutting discretionary spending to fiscal year 2022 levels. SENATE REPUBLICANS, INCLUDING MCCONNELL, SAY DEBT LIMIT FIGHT IS BETWEEN MCCARTHY AND BIDEN The think tanks point to one measure in particular – the rescinding of unused COVID-19 pandemic funds – as something that should be a reasonable starting point for Biden. “The lowest-hanging fruit is surely ending spending for an emergency that you and both houses of Congress agree is over,” the letter stated. “Explosive growth in debt-financed spending during the pandemic produced the highest inflation in a generation, rapid interest rate increases, turmoil in the financial sector, and a profound level of anxiety about the federal government’s financial stability. Failing to get our house in order, starting with this year’s debt limit deal, invites economic calamity and a shrunken America on the world stage.” It also pointed to a recent Gallup poll that shows 78% of Americans are worried either “a great deal” or “a fair amount” about the debt limit. MCCARTHY AGREES TO MAY 9 MEETING WITH BIDEN TO RESOLVE DEBT CEILING STANDOFF Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last week that she projects the U.S. will run out of cash to pay its current obligations as early as June 1. Biden and his fellow Democrats have refused to budge from their position so far, however, and have attacked the House GOP plan as both extreme and unfeasible in the scope of its cuts. CLICK TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP The letter to Biden sent Monday warned, “If the federal government enacts savings and starts to fix the system, you could help break the cycle and stop ending up back in this situation.” “We urge you to come to the table. Surely consensus is possible to resolve immediate needs while making progress on our country’s long-term challenges. The clock is ticking. Americans need you and your congressional counterparts to come together,” it said.
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