'An honest man': Biden praises McCarthy ahead of debt ceiling fight

By Jen Krausz on
 May 7, 2023

President Joe Biden was careful this weekend to keep his comments about House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) positive, another sign that he is more willing to haggle over the debt ceiling than it appears.

He contended that McCarthy was put in a tough situation on the debt ceiling by his fellow Republicans , who are insisting on cuts and working toward a balanced budget.

Biden is meeting with McCarthy and other congressional leaders this week despite saying adamantly that he would not negotiate any conditions for a debt ceiling increase and wanted a "clean" increase.

There are only a few weeks left before the U.S. may have to default on some of its debt without an increase in the debt limit.

The limit is currently $31.4 trillion, which was reached in January.

Biden may have hoped that his previous strident comments would lead some Republicans to pressure McCarthy to budge on his position that a debt ceiling increase needs to be tied to cuts and rollbacks of programs, but it seems that McCarthy is getting strong Republican backing, which has forced Biden to be the one to budge.