President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy both indicated they are willing to discuss raising the US debt ceiling, as Democratic and Republican lawmakers head toward a high-stakes clash over raising the nation’s borrowing limit.
Their comments come one day after the US Treasury Department began taking “extraordinary measures” to help temporarily reduce the amount of outstanding debt subject to the limit, currently set at $31.4 trillion, and avoid defaulting on its payments.
Republicans, who took control of the House of Representatives earlier this month, have threatened to block the usual annual rubber stamping of a rise in the limit.
But White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre insisted in a statement that “raising the debt ceiling is not a negotiation,” and that Biden wants to talk with Republican McCarthy on a “range of issues” as the speaker begins his tenure.
Raising the debt ceiling “is an obligation of this country and its leaders to avoid economic chaos,” Jean-Pierre said.
“Congress has always done it, and the president expects them to do their duty once again,” she added.
“That is not negotiable.”
Earlier over the weekend, McCarthy indicated in a tweet that he is open to raising the debt limit as part of talks on spending cuts.
“President Biden: I accept your invitation to sit down and discuss a responsible debt ceiling increase to address irresponsible government spending,” he posted.