Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have sharp differences over how to raise the debt ceiling, setting off the possibility of the extraordinary measures being exhausted this summer and risking a government default that could wreak economic havoc.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said the U.S. will not default, but it's unclear how Biden can reconcile his insistence on a clean increase with McCarthy's demand for spending cuts.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at Monday's news briefing that Biden is “happy to talk to anyone who wants to deal” with deficit reduction in a “responsible way.”
But Jean-Pierre said that deficit reduction should not be tied to whether the U.S. government pays its bills that are already being incurred.
“It must be done without conditions,” Jean-Pierre said, adding, “President Biden will never — will never allow Republicans to cut benefits that our hardworking Americans have earned. This is what they have earned.”
McCarthy has yet to outline the scope or the specifics of the cuts that House Republicans would like to see, although any final plan would need to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate and receive Biden's signature.
"Families and businesses have to live within a budget — Washington must as well," McCarthy tweeted on Sunday.