While a small glimmer of hope appeared earlier in the week, talks over a deal to increase the debt ceiling stalled on Friday. That came as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy continued to encourage President Joe Biden to come to the table in a realistic fashion.
Unfortunately, the president suffers from a bad case of sheer, unadulterated hubris, and that’s pushing the nation closer and closer to the fiscal cliff (Associated Press).
Debt limit talks came to an abrupt standstill Friday after Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said it’s time to “pause” negotiations, and a White House official acknowledged there are “real differences” that are making talks difficult.
McCarthy said resolution to the standoff is “easy,” if only President Joe Biden would agree to some spending cuts Republicans are demanding. It is unclear when negotiations would resume.
“We’ve got to get movement by the White House and we don’t have any movement yet,” McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters at the Capitol. “So, yeah, we’ve got to pause.”
A White House official who was granted anonymity Friday to discuss the private conversations said there are “real differences” between the parties on the budget issues and further “talks will be difficult.”
Debt-limit negotiations hit an impasse Friday as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy blamed the White House for resisting spending cuts, casting doubt on efforts in Washington to avert a catastrophic default https://t.co/5OaPG3RgP1 pic.twitter.com/JRHyXZZWiG
— Bloomberg Politics (@bpolitics) May 19, 2023
McCarthy is not demanding massive spending despite Democrat fear-mongering over the issue. Rather, the big ask is to simply return to 2022 spending levels with a one percent annual growth cap. That would avoid having to slash major programs while putting the country on a path to possibly outgrow the current deficit. Would that be effective anytime soon in solving the problem? Perhaps not given just how high the deficit currently is, but certainly, stopping the bleeding would be preferable to continuing to plunge the knife deeper.
Unfortunately, Biden has convinced himself (or has been convinced by his handlers) that he has the upper hand and can simply drive the country over the fiscal cliff with no political consequence. I’m not so sure that’s true given that McCarthy did what many thought was impossible and actually united his caucus to pass a debt ceiling plan.
Gone is the excuse that Republicans haven’t put anything on the table. Instead, the White House is scrambling to shift its messaging by taking a no-negotiation stance. But if one side has offered a solution and the other refuses to even talk about it, who is to blame?
The answer is easy to ascertain, and if Republicans are proactive enough, they can win the PR battle over this. McCarthy has already seen his popularity jump in the last few months as this fight has drug on. Meanwhile, Biden has bottomed out in many public opinion polls, seeing the lowest approval ratings of his presidency.
If Biden wants to go down with the ship, that will be completely on him. Republicans have offered an easy way to avoid any default. If they don’t take it, they own it the results.
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