“Good discussion”, but no budget agreement between Biden and the boss of the elected Republicans
“A good discussion”, a “frank” exchange, but no agreement on burning budgetary issues: the boss of the elected Republicans Kevin McCarthy was received Tuesday by Joe Biden for the face- the most anticipated political face-off of the beginning of the year in the United States.
The conservative criticizes the American president for spending recklessly, while the 80-year-old Democrat accuses him of blackmailing the United States' default on payment without having a precise budget project.
Kevin McCarthy said, speaking to the press after the meeting, that there was “no agreement” at this stage with the American president, and found that they had “different points of view” .
But the representative from California, laboriously elected “Speaker” of the House after several ballots, said he “sees where it would be possible to find a compromise” with the president.
La White House spoke in a statement of a “frank and direct exchange”, during which Joe Biden said he was “desirous to continue to work with the opposition, in good faith”.
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The world's leading economic power, like almost all major economies, lives on credit. But unlike other developed countries, America comes up against a legal constraint: the debt ceiling.
Congress must regularly raise this famous “ceiling”, and generally does so without major debate.
If parliamentarians do not do this, the United States will first be forced to cut its current spending and social benefits. Before, if nothing is settled by the summer, to find themselves unable to service their debt.
This would precipitate American and global finance into the unknown.
And the powerful American central bank has already warned that it should not be counted on to cushion the possible consequences: “No one should assume that the Fed can protect the economy from the consequences of the absence of measures taken in due time” warned his boss Jerome Powell.
At the head of the new Republican majority in the House, Kevin McCarthy has promised not to write a blank check to Joe Biden, conditioning any raising of the debt ceiling on lower taxes and public spending, which he deems “out of control”.
However, he has not yet specified the areas in which these savings must intervene, indicating only that he does not intend to cut into social systems, in particular those of pension insurance and health insurance for the elderly.
The elected representative of California must deal with very strong dissensions in his party, for example between Republicans going to war and Trumpists who want to reduce military spending.
Raise the debt ceiling is “an obligation” laid down by the Constitution, which must be fulfilled “without negotiations and without conditions”, insisted the White House after the meeting.
Kevin McCarthy is “a decent guy,” Joe Biden said Tuesday, during a reception to raise funds for the Democratic Party.
But “he had to make delirious promises” to the most radical wing of the party to seize the wooden mallet which is the emblem of the boss of the House of Representatives, analyzed the president.
It will all depend on how Kevin McCarthy, who is anything but an ideologue, analyzes the political situation, after the rather disappointing legislative elections in November for the right.
Will he consider himself to be in his interest to pose as an interlocutor, tough if necessary, of Joe Biden? Or will he lean towards a more intransigent position?
According to a poll conducted in January and published Tuesday by the Pew Research Institute, a majority of Republicans (64%) believe that their elected representatives in Congress must above all oppose the Democratic president, even if it means putting important decisions for the country on the back burner.
But compared to the previous survey, conducted a year ago, the proportion of Conservative voters who believe their party should instead negotiate with Joe Biden increased from 26% to 34%.