Biden Says He Put Another $1 Trillion in Spending Cuts on the Table

May 25, 2023

President Biden on Thursday said he had put on the table an additional $1 trillion in spending cuts amid budget negotiations with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

“I put forward a proposal that will cut spending by more than $1 trillion and that freezes spending for the next two years,” Biden said. “That’s on top of the nearly $3 trillion in deficit reduction I previously proposed through a combination of spending cuts and new revenue raisers.” 

He added that he and McCarthy have had “several productive conversations” and that their staffs were continuing to meet in order to come to an agreement ahead of what Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned repeatedly is a  June 1 deadline to avoid defaulting on the federal debt. 

“I’ve made clear time and again that defaulting on our national debt is not an option,” Biden said Thursday. He added, “Default puts us all that at risk. Congressional leaders understand that, and they’ve all agreed: there will be no default.”

On Wednesday, McCarthy insisted that the standoff over raising the debt ceiling was “not my fault.” However, he said he remained optimistic that the two sides could come to an agreement before a deadline that’s just days away.

On Thursday, however, McCarthy was set to allow House lawmakers to leave Washington for the long holiday weekend, deal or no deal.

Though the debt ceiling has been raised cleanly, without any strings attached, in years past, House Republicans have passed legislation that ties a short-term debt ceiling hike to decade-long spending cuts.

The bill, which passed in the House along partisan lines, includes cuts to veterans’ benefits and work requirements for Medicaid recipients.

“Speaker McCarthy and I have a very different view of who should bear the burden of additional efforts to get our fiscal house in order,” Biden said. “I don’t think the burden should fall on the backs of the middle class and the working class Americans. My House Republican friends disagree.”

“It is time for Congress to act now,” the President added, stating, “The American people deserve to know that their Social Security payments will be there, and veterans hospitals remain open, and that economic progress will be made. And we are going to continue to make it.”

Biden made his remarks ahead of a Rose Garden event to announce the nomination of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown Jr. (see photo, far right) to replace Army Gen. Mark Milley, whose term expires in October, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Brown’s confirmation would be historic in that for the first time in U.S. history, the Pentagon’s top military and civilian positions would be held by Black men. Lloyd Austin (in photo, far left) has been Secretary of Defense since Biden took office in January 2021.

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