White House ‘will not negotiate’ on debt ceiling

White House ‘will not negotiate’ on debt ceiling

White House ‘will not negotiate’ on debt ceiling

President Joe Biden, the Republicans and the U.S. economy were on a disastrous collision course yesterday after the White House made clear it will not negotiate over extending the nation’s debt limit.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warns that the government will run out of money and default on its debts as soon as June 1, if there is no authorization for more borrowing.

That would mean inability to pay for everything from social programs to the military and, in a cataclysmic blow to world financial markets, the national debt.

Congressional leaders have been invited to meet with Biden on May 9.

Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, insist they will only extend the debt limit if Biden first agrees to steep cuts in the federal budget. That, says the White House, is a no-no.

“This is not an issue that we will negotiate on,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Jean-Pierre said Biden was willing to discuss “a separate process to address the budget” cuts but said the debt ceiling issue should be entirely set aside.

“It is Congress’ constitutional duty to prevent default,” she said. “Given the limited time Congress now has, it is clear that the only practical path to avoid default is for Congress to suspend the debt limit without conditions.”

Debt limit extensions are generally an uncontroversial annual accounting maneuver that allows the government to pay for extra expenses already incurred.

However, Republicans, whose party has come under the sway of a hard-right-wing faction in the House, have chosen to use the issue as leverage on their broader bid to slash government spending and reduce the deficit.