During a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre screamed down a reporter who was upset about not being given the opportunity to ask a question.
A reporter questioned Jean-Pierre about releasing more information on President Joe Biden’s talks with Republicans on the debt ceiling, which sparked the conversation. The $31.4 trillion debt ceiling will be reached on June 1 if Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy can’t come to an agreement.
“Do you mean to tell us that in the discussions between the president and the speaker, and in the discussions between the two negotiating teams, they are only discussing federal discretionary spending and that they are not at all discussing the terms under which the debt ceiling would be raised?” he asked.
“What I can tell you is what you’ve heard from the president and what you’ve heard from both sides, which has been the negotiation has certainly been about the budget,” Jean-Pierre said. “You’ve heard them talk about the budget, you’ve heard them talk about how we’re moving forward and that in this particular moment that we’re in they’ve been productive. The president has held the line and has been very clear that when it comes to the debt limit, it should be done without negotiations, without condition. That’s something that the president has said in front of all of you.”
“They’re not talking about the debt ceiling, about how long it will be raised, by how much. That’s not a subject of discussion?” The reporter cut in to say.
“I am telling you what the president has said to all of you,” she answered.
“I know what he said. I follow it very closely, everyday,” he shot back. “I want to know what’s happening in that room.”
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Following the approval of a GOP-led plan that lifts the federal government’s debt ceiling but also mandates spending cuts, Biden appeared to further soften his tough posture toward congressional Republicans in an appearance with MSNBC last week.
Prior to a week ago, Biden changed his mind and asked McCarthy to discuss the debt limit during a meeting scheduled for May 9 in order to prevent default.
McCarthy was contacted by Biden while in Israel to arrange a meeting to begin those conversations.
The Biden administration was caught off guard when House Republicans under the leadership of McCarthy enacted a plan to raise the debt ceiling. The White House may not have been ready for the surprising victory, according to reports.
“We are not negotiating on this,” Jean-Pierre told the media the following day. “We’ve been very clear on this,” she added.
But last Friday, Biden seemed to further soften his opposition to the proposal by speaking more calmly with McCarthy in an interview that was broadcast by MSNBC.
McCarthy was not personally attacked by Biden; instead, he was described as a “honest man.” Despite the fact that the two have only ever engaged in official negotiations once, McCarthy has pushed for a second meeting, which is now set for the following week. McCarthy was not attacked by Biden, who instead lambasted the debt ceiling agreement he reached with his fellow House Republicans, according to Politico.
“I think he’s in the position, well, he had to make a deal and that was pretty — you know, 15 votes. Fifteen votes that where he had — just about sold away everything that he — at the far, far right,” he said. “There’s the Republican Party and there’s the MAGA Republicans, and the MAGA Republicans really have put him in a position where in order to stay Speaker, he has to agree — he’s agreed to things that, maybe, he believes, but are just extreme.”
Biden informed Ruhle that he was not yet prepared to pursue a temporary workaround for increasing the debt ceiling.
She then questioned him about whether he would make the same argument against the debt ceiling that his staff is apparently mulling, but Biden said he had not “gotten there yet,” Politico reported.
“Here’s the deal, I think that — first of all, this is not your father’s Republican Party. This is a different group. And I think that we have to make it clear to the American people that I am prepared to negotiate in detail with their budget,” he said. “How much are you going to spend? How much are you going to tax? Where can we cut?”