US President Joe Biden confirmed during an address from the White House that he and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had reached a bipartisan budget agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling on May 28.
“We are ready to move to the full Congress. I think it’s a real important step forward. It takes the threat of catastrophic default off the table, protects our hard-earned and historic economic recovery and the agreement also represents a compromise that means no one got everything they want” President Biden said.
“The deal prevents the worst possible crisis – a default for the first time in our nation’s history” the president added.
Media reported the agreement would “raise the debt ceiling for two years, freeze spending on domestic programs, increase spending on defense and veterans issues, impose some new work requirements on federal food assistance programs and change some rules around energy permitting.”
President Biden and Speaker McCarthy are working to gain backing from the political middle as Congress votes on June 5 to avert a damaging federal default, media reported. Credit: The White House via Storyful
JOE BIDEN: I'm sorry to keep you waiting, but we've got good news. We've got-- just spoke with Speaker McCarthy, and we've reached a bipartisan budget agreement that we're ready to move to the full Congress. And I think it's a really important step forward. Excuse me. And it takes the threat of catastrophic default off the table, protects our hard-earned and historic economic recovery.
And the agreement also represents a compromise, which means no one got everything they want. But that's the responsibility of governing. And this is a deal that is good news for-- I believe you'll see-- for the American people. The agreement prevents the worst possible crisis, a default for the first time in our nation's history, an economic recession, retirement accounts devastated, millions of jobs lost.
It also protects key priorities and accomplishments and values that congressional Democrats and I have fought long for, long and hard for. Investing in America's agenda that's creating good jobs in communities throughout the country. It protects Social Security, Medicare, and veterans, and so much more. The Speaker and I made clear from the start that the only way forward was a bipartisan agreement.
That agreement now goes to the United States House and to the Senate. I strongly urge both chambers to pass that agreement. Let's keep moving forward on meeting our obligations and building the strongest economy in the history of the world. I'll take a few questions.
- President, you said at the beginning that the debt ceiling was not negotiable. Isn't that what you've just done here, and isn't that you--
JOE BIDEN: You guys, look, we're not negotiating the debt ceiling. Here's the deal. They passed. They said they're going to-- if they pass the debt ceiling, and they said that only do it on condition that it have all these cuts in it. I said, I'm not going to do that. You pass the debt ceiling, period. I'll negotiate with you on the cuts, what you say, what's going to happen, what the budget's going to look like. That's what we are negotiating in order to get to them deciding that they're going to go along with a new debt ceiling, meaning that it's not attached. So something totally different attached that was attached before. Suppose you want to try to make it look like I made some compromise in the debt ceiling, and I didn't. I made a compromise on the budget.
- But that's what they wanted is you made a compromise on the budget, and that's what you've done, even though you haven't gone as far as they wanted. Isn't that right?
JOE BIDEN: Sure, yeah. Well, can you think of an alternative?
- Mr. President, what do you say to members of your own party who say you've made too many concessions in this deal?
JOE BIDEN: They'll find I didn't.
- Mr. President, on your allies and adversaries to America, would you be willing to say about what you think this process said to those adversaries and allies? You have a deal now, but what does the process say? What does the struggle say--
JOE BIDEN: Well, it says we've been through this more than once. And it's just the nature of the way we handle the deficit and handle whether we're going to-- each year-- going to pay our debts. And it's happened more than once. It will probably happen again, but it's not going to happen at least for another two years here. And I don't think beyond-- I think beyond that, it won't either.
- Mr. President, do you think it's time for the US to get rid of the debt limit, that this is-- you know, for the reasons you just laid out?
JOE BIDEN: No, I think it would cause more controversy getting rid of the debt limit, although I do-- I am exploring the idea that we would at a later date, a year or two from now, decide whether or not the 14th Amendment, how that actually would impact on whether or not you need to do the debt limit every year, but that's another day. Thank you all--
- Mr. President, do you believe Speaker McCarthy has the votes, and did he negotiate in good faith?
JOE BIDEN: I think he negotiated with me in good faith. He kept his word. He said what he would do. He did what he said he'd do. And I have no idea whether he had the votes. I expect he does, or I don't think he would have made the agreement.
- Mr. President, do you have a comment on the elections in Turkey? Have you spoken with President Erdogan?
JOE BIDEN: I have not spoken with him yet.
- Do you wish--
- Do you have a comment?
- Some of your Democratic colleagues are saying that this policy will leave some people to go hungry? What is your response to that?
JOE BIDEN: That's ridiculous assertion.
- Do you wish you had started these negotiations sooner?
JOE BIDEN: No, [INAUDIBLE] deficit.
- Mr. President, is financial aid for Ukraine secured in your new budget?