Debt limit delay won’t stop Biden and GOP lawmakers from enjoying holiday weekend
Time is running out for President Biden and Republican lawmakers to strike a deal to raise the debt ceiling before the June 1 deadline, when the United States will not be able to pay all of its bills, which will likely trigger an economic earthquake.
That didn’t stop President Biden and House Republicans from fleeing Washington to take advantage of the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
House lawmakers left town on Thursday, but could be recalled with 24 hours’ notice if negotiating teams reach an agreement to raise the US government’s debt limit by $31.4 trillion. Mr. Biden is heading to Camp David on Friday, then to his Delaware home for the rest of the holiday weekend.
Although the White House and House Republican negotiating teams will be working through the weekend, each side has engaged in finger pointing over the holidays.
Rep. Barry Moore, Republican of Alabama, said House Republicans had already done their homework by passing a debt ceiling bill. He also noted that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, remained to continue negotiations.
“President McCarthy and his negotiating team remain in Washington this long weekend to get things done for the American people. Biden is heading for a Camp David vacation,” Mr. Moore wrote on Twitter.
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said, “Biden cares more about his vacation than the American people. House Republicans passed a common-sense debt ceiling proposal to save taxpayers’ money, but Biden is again leaving town for a no-deal vacation to avoid a default. American families are bearing the brunt of Biden’s lack of leadership, and he doesn’t care.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended Mr Biden from skipping town while repeating that it was “urgent” to reach an agreement to avoid default.
“The president can fix this wherever it is, so I’m going to leave it at that,” she said.
Democrats, meanwhile, were furious that Republicans were sent home for the holiday weekend.
“As we face a debt crisis, all Republicans have left to leave town. They got into their cars and limos and flew home when we were on the brink of disaster. What kind of leadership is that, Kevin McCarthy? Rep. Kweisi Mfume, Democrat of Maryland, said in remarks to the House.
If a deal is struck, Mr. Biden and Mr. McCarthy will have to sell it to their respective caucuses, which will take time. The legislation would also need to be approved by the Senate before it can head to Mr Biden’s office for his signature.
News of a potential compromise that would raise the debt ceiling for two years in exchange for recovering unspent coronavirus relief funds has angered ultra-conservative lawmakers because it would relieve Democrats until after the 2024 elections.
Mr McCarthy disputed the authenticity of a document purporting to describe a series of compromises reached by the negotiators.