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Biden will insist that raising debt limit is not “bargaining chip“ -White House

2023-02-06T20:39:50Z

U.S. White House National Economic Council director Brian Deese addresses the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 6, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Joe Biden will insist in his State of the Union address that raising the debt limit of the United States is not negotiable and should not be used as “bargaining chip” by U.S. lawmakers, his top economic adviser Brian Deese said on Monday.

“This bedrock idea that the United States has met all of its financial obligations for its existence as a country isn’t something that anybody should be using as a bargaining chip. It’s not a negotiable item,” Deese said.

He said the economic consequences of questioning that principle could be “quite severe” and could allow adversaries to claim the “full faith and credit” of the United States had been weakened.

The U.S. government hit its $31.4 trillion debt ceiling last month, prompting the Treasury Department to warn that it may not be able to stave off default past early June.

Biden, a Democrat, last week met with Republican U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy to discuss a path forward.

The White House has said Biden will discuss federal spending cuts with Republicans, but only after the debt ceiling is lifted, while McCarthy has said Republicans will only lift the ceiling if Biden agrees to spending cuts.

Deese said Biden would express an “openness and, in fact, an eagerness to have a real serious conversation about the fiscal and economic priorities of the country” and potential ways to lower costs for families while continuing to invest and create more manufacturing jobs.