McCarthy says he confronted Biden about 'lie' during tense debt ceiling meeting: 'This is political'
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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday evening that he will meet with President Joe Biden again on Friday to discuss the debt limit, and that he would oppose the commander-in-chief's usage of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in a bid to skirt House Republicans on the borrowing limit altogether.
"I didn't find progress in this meeting. Staff will continue to meet and we'll get back together on Friday, and hopefully the president then can change the path of the last 97 days," McCarthy, R-Calif., said in reference to the time between today's meeting and their first debt ceiling sit-down on February 1.
He said their staffs will meet "to see if we could find places that we could find savings and be able to come to an agreement on the debt ceiling," despite Democrats insisting they would not pair budget talks with action on the debt limit.
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09: U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) holds a media availability at the U.S. Capitol on May 09, 2023, in Washington, DC. McCarthy and other Congressional leaders met with the President to negotiate how to addres (Getty Images)
The speaker was also asked about comments Biden made at his own recent press conference, which like McCarthy's was also announced after the White House meeting. The president told reporters, "I have been considering the 14th Amendment…but the problem is, it would have to be litigated. And in the meantime, without an extension, we still end up in the same place."
He's referring to a specific clause in the Constitutional amendment that states, "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."
McCarthy scoffed when asked if he'd oppose Biden invoking the statute to act on the debt limit.
"Well yeah," he answered. "Really think about this – if you're the leader of the free world…and you're going to the 14th Amendment to look at something like that, I would think you're kind of a failure in working with people across the sides of the aisle or working with your own party to get something done."
He said the 14th Amendment was not mentioned at the earlier meeting.
Another point of contention during the face-to-face, McCarthy signaled, was the White House's insistence that spending cuts in Republicans' Limit, Save, Grow Act would harm veterans and their care programs.
"We brought up the veterans. It's a lie," McCarthy said. "This is a political game they're trying to play instead of sitting down and really negotiating."
He said he told Biden directly that the claim was a "lie" but denied calling the president a liar.