Follow Us

Biden says he thinks Speaker McCarthy is an 'honest man,' ahead of debt ceiling meeting

Sen. McConnell issued a release on Thursday stating that seven of the last 10 debt ceiling increases were not stand-alone bills, and that then-Senator Biden voted against a stand-alone debt ceiling bill in 2006.

Published: May 6, 2023 6:03pm

President Joe Biden said on Friday that he believes Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is an "honest man" just days ahead of a high-stakes meeting May 9 on the debt ceiling. He then expressed regret that McCarthy is, in his view, in some ways hostage to the right wing of the GOP.

"I think he's an honest man," Biden told MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle when asked if McCarthy is an honest broker in the upcoming negotiations, according to The Hill.

He noted it took McCarthy 15 votes to become Speaker, and in the process he "just about sold away everything" to what Biden called "MAGA Republicans."

"And the MAGA Republicans really have put him in a position where in order to stay Speaker he's agreed to things that maybe he believes, but are just extreme," Biden said in the interview which aired Friday evening on MSNBC's The 11th Hour.

The meeting on Tuesday includes McCarthy, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at the White House.

Biden and the four congressional leaders are set to discuss raising the debt ceiling after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned the nation could default as early as June. But that could only happen if the Biden administration chooses not to pay the interest on the national debt.

The White House has for months maintained that Congress has an obligation to raise the debt ceiling without conditions, pointing to decades of precedent. But Sen. McConnell issued a release on Thursday stating that seven of the last 10 debt ceiling increases were not stand-alone bills, and that then-Senator Biden voted against a stand-alone debt ceiling bill in 2006.

Republicans, however, are using the debt ceiling as leverage as they are seeking significant cuts in spending. Sen. McConnell has signed on to a letter supporting McCarthy's bill that he barely got through the House.

The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook

Just the News Spotlight

Support Just the News