Biden, McCarthy, as soon as breakfast mates, wrangle over US debt

Biden, McCarthy, once breakfast mates, wrangle over US debt

WASHINGTON (AP) — Not so way back, Joe Biden and Republican chief Kevin McCarthy used to speak issues over at breakfast in Biden’s vice presidential residence on the Naval Observatory.

Biden was intent in these days on “maintaining relations with the opposition get together,” as he writes in his memoir, and the brand new Home majority chief typically arrived with fellow GOP lawmakers in tow.

However now, with a possible nationwide debt disaster l ooming, these morning conferences in 2015 appear a political lifetime in the past as Democratic President Biden and McCarthy, the brand new Home speaker, put together for his or her first official assembly Wednesday on the White Home.

“You understand, after I met with him because the vp, he was all the time keen to take a seat down and speak,” McCarthy recalled to The Related Press forward of the assembly. “He was all the time an individual who wish to attempt to discover options, work collectively.”

Biden has signaled no such open-ended hospitality this time as newly emboldened Home Republicans courtroom a dangerous debt ceiling showdown.

At a fundraiser Tuesday in New York, Biden referred to as McCarthy a “first rate man” who was being pulled by calls for from restive Republicans.

“He made commitments which can be simply completely off the wall” to be able to win the speaker’s gavel, Biden mentioned.

Two affable leaders identified for his or her willingness to strike offers, Biden and McCarthy discover themselves charging headlong into uncomfortable political terrain in hardball negotiations over the nation’s debt restrict.

A era aside — McCarthy, 58, has been in Congress only a third of the time that Biden, 80, has held elected workplace — the 2 males are deeply acquainted with the methods of Washington and positions of energy.

Each have constructed political manufacturers on their capacity to satisfy with all comers, forging offers the place none appeared doubtless. They’ve proven mutual respect throughout their restricted interactions in Biden’s presidency. And each have been right here earlier than, veterans of the final fiscal showdown, in 2011, when Biden, as vp to Barack Obama, tried to barter an endgame to a standoff with McCarthy’s predecessors in Congress.

The political in addition to financial stakes are obvious this time as Biden considers one other run for the White Home and McCarthy strains to maintain his new job as speaker of the Home, together with its right-flank Republicans.

“Similar to in 2011, it’s not going to be actual kumbaya,” mentioned Neil Bradley, vp on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a former high aide to former Home GOP Majority Chief Eric Cantor. Bradley, who was a part of earlier Biden talks, mentioned, “These are each seasoned leaders who perceive what it takes to get issues finished in Washington.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has notified Congress that it might want to increase the debt ceiling, now set at $31 trillion, to permit continued borrowing to pay the nation’s already accrued payments. Whereas the Treasury Division has been capable of launch “extraordinary measures” to briefly keep away from a debt default, that’s solely anticipated to final till June.

The debt ceiling showdown carries echoes, but in addition variations, from 2011, when the Home Republican “tea get together” majority rose to energy, demanding price range cuts and threatening a probably catastrophic federal debt default.

Recalling these tough negotiations, Biden has been reluctant to barter with the brand new Home Republicans underneath McCarthy. Forward of Wednesday’s assembly, the White Home launched a memo outlining the “two questions” Biden will pose to the Republican chief.

“Will the speaker decide to the bedrock precept that america won’t ever default on its monetary obligations?” reads one of many questions, partly. And: “When will Speaker McCarthy and Home Republicans launch their Price range?”

The memo, from White Home Nationwide Financial Council Director Brian Deese and Shalanda Younger, the Workplace of Administration and Price range director, famous that Biden will probably be releasing the administration’s price range on March 9 — notably blowing previous a February deadline — and referred to as on McCarthy to element exactly how Republicans would reduce the federal government spending that they insist is simply too excessive.

McCarthy all however invited himself to the White Home as he pushed for the assembly with Biden. And he has made it clear he’s keen to discount, saying over the weekend he is not going to be proposing cuts to Medicare or Social Safety as Republicans attempt to slash federal spending as a part of any debt ceiling deal.

Whereas McCarthy involves the negotiating desk with the ability of the brand new Home majority behind him, he’s additionally considered as coming considerably empty-handed.

It’s by no means clear the brand new speaker will be capable to ship the votes wanted from divided Republicans in Congress on any debt deal. He has promised his GOP hardliners a return to fiscal 2022 spending ranges, however even that may not be sufficient price range slicing for a few of them.

It’s a possible repeat of the 2011-12 fiscal showdown, when the Obama administration negotiated with Republicans earlier than lastly deciding on a deal that Biden negotiated with the Senate Republican chief Mitch McConnell to ease the disaster.

“We’re all behind Kevin, wishing him effectively within the negotiations,” McConnell mentioned Tuesday, his personal Senate Republicans within the minority.

“The deal must be reduce, clearly, between the Home majority and the Democratic president, to ensure that it to have an opportunity to outlive over right here.”

Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., mentioned that Biden and McCarthy “don’t have the historic relationship that Senator McConnell and Biden have had via the years, however I do assume circumstances necessitate and dictate at instances that individuals have to come back collectively — whether or not they prefer it or not.”

Just like the Republicans, Democrats are skeptical of coping with the opposing get together. They’re pushing Biden to drive a hardline discount in opposition to any trade-offs.

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Pramila Jayapal mentioned Biden “has seen during the last two years who he’s negotiating with — these are usually not people who find themselves truly about negotiating one thing that is smart for the working folks.”

The president, she added, has been “such a champion of working folks and reversing inequality” that any budget-slashing take care of Republicans “would reverse all of that work.”

Refusal to barter with Republicans has been off-brand for Biden, who has championed his a long time of expertise in constructing relationships with lawmakers, governors and administrations of each events.

In some ways, Biden and McCarthy are choosing up the place they left off from these breakfast conferences.

“I feel he’ll begin by listening greater than he talks, by attending to know Speaker McCarthy a little bit bit extra as an individual and by exploring what their frequent priorities is likely to be,” mentioned Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., a detailed ally of the president.

Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a former historical past professor, mentioned of the 2: “They’re profession public servants. They’re each intensely political. I feel they’re each hail-well-met fellows. It appears to me that they’ll have a fairly good dialogue.”


Related Press author Josh Boak contributed from New York.