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Biden touts debt ceiling deal in Oval Office address

"We averted an economic crisis, an economic collapse. We're cutting spending and bringing the deficits down at the same time," he said.

Published: June 2, 2023 7:19pm

President Joe Biden on Friday celebrated the passage of the bipartisan plan to suspend the debt ceiling after both chambers agreed to an arrangement negotiated between him and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

"We averted an economic crisis, an economic collapse. We're cutting spending and bringing the deficits down at the same time," he said. "I want to commend Speaker McCarthy. He and I and our teams we were able to get along."

The Fiscal Responsibility Act suspends the debt ceiling for two years until after the next presidential election. It further cuts the budget for fiscal year 2024 and imposes a cap on non-defense discretionary spending in the following year. The debt limit will return at the end of the that period at the level of debt the nation has accrued by that time.

Biden indicated that he would sign the legislation on Saturday. The Treasury had set the deadline to avert default at June 5, leaving the president with a two-day buffer. The nation hit its $31.4 trillion spending limit in January and talk of a default has pervaded Washington for months.

He further celebrated the bipartisan spirit in which congressional leaders negotiated to avert a default, saying "both sides operated in good faith. Both sides kept their word."

During his address, Biden touted his efforts to prevent any cuts to major entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare. Republicans had adamantly insisted that they never intended to do so. The president recalled his exchange with irate Republicans during a prior address when he first made the claim, asserting that he stared them down and secured the commitment to preserve the programs on the spot.

Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott had proposed a plan to "sunset" federal legislation after five years, which he later amended to specifically exclude Social Security and Medicare. Notably, that measure predated the compromise legislation and was unrelated to the debt ceiling. Moreover, Biden himself in 1975 proposed near-identical legislation.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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