McCarthy Jabs at Biden, Offers ‘Soft Food’ for Debt Limit Talks

McCarthy Jabs at Biden, Offers ‘Soft Food’ for Debt Limit Talks

© Gary Cameron / Reuters

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy again called on President Joe Biden to meet with him on the debt limit — only this time he worked in a nasty dig about the 80-year-old president’s age.

At a press conference to celebrate the House passage of H.R. 1, Republicans’ energy bill, McCarthy suggested that Republicans might pass legislation to raise the debt limit based on the letter he sent Biden this week, which included a number of broad proposals to cut spending.

House Republicans continue to insist that any increase in the debt ceiling must be paired with spending cuts, an approach they did not take when the debt limit was raised three times under former President Donald Trump.

Asked what the effects of such a House bill might be given that it could not get through the Senate and would not be signed by Biden, McCarthy insisted that Republicans have been reasonable and responsible in their approach to the debt limit.

“He is making the decision that he wants to put the economy in jeopardy,” McCarthy said of the president. “I don’t know what more I can do and how easy — I would bring the lunch to the White House. I would make it soft food if that’s what he wants.”

The speaker’s jab elicited laughs and applause from the Republicans lined up behind him at the news conference, but it did not improve McCarthy’s chances of arranging another meeting.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that, unlike the White House, Republicans have yet to produce a budget plan. “What we really need from Speaker McCarthy and House Republicans is to see their budget,” she said. “We want to see what they value. We want to see exactly what it is that they want to cut. So let’s have that budget discussion. What does the speaker want to discuss? What are the specific cuts? What taxes does he want to raise? It’s been three weeks. We’ve had our budget out.”