Remarks by President Biden Before Meeting with Speaker McCarthy to Discuss the Debt Ceiling
5:44 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’m glad the Speaker is here today. We — we’re optimistic we may be able to make some progress because we both agree that we — default is not really on the table; we got to get something done here.
And the consequence of failing to pay our bills would be the American people would have a real kick in their econ- — economic well-being. As a matter of fact, the rest of the world would too.
And so we also agree we need to reduce the deficit. And I might add, in my first two years as President, I reduced it by $1.7 trillion. It matters. And so I’m all for reducing and continuing to reduce the deficit.
And — but we all — we both talked about the need for a bipartisan agreement. We have to be in a position where we can sell it to our constituencies. We’re pretty well divided in the House, almost down the middle, and it’s not any different in the Senate. So we got to get something we can sell to both sides.
And we need to cut spending, but we — here’s the disagreement: We have to — I think we should be looking at tax loopholes and making sure the wealthy pay their fair share. I think revenue matters as well as — as long as you’re not taxing anybody under 400,000 bucks.
And so we’re going to — we still have some disagreements, but I think we may be able to get where we have to go. We both know we have a significant responsibility.
With that, I’m going to turn it over to the Speaker. Kevin, it’s all yours.
SPEAKER MCCARTHY: I thank the President for spending time. We had a very productive conversation yesterday, even though he was coming back from the G7 meeting.
We do have disagreements. I think we — of a 50-year average, we’re having more revenue than any time coming in. But I think we both agree that we need to change trajectory, that our debt is too large. And I think, at the end of the day, we can find common ground, make our economy stronger, take care of this debt, but, more importantly, get this government moving again to curb inflation, make us less dependent upon China, and make our appropriations system work when we get done, right?
THE PRESIDENT: I’m all for making appropriations work — (laughter) — now that I don’t have to be there to do it.
Q Mr. President, is overall spending the way to resolve this, to agree on that kind of number?
THE PRESIDENT: Not alone. Not that alone.
5:47 P.M. EDT