White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre repeatedly stressed Thursday the urgent need for Congress to raise the debt ceiling in a bipartisan fashion but gave very few details regarding movement in the negotiations between President Joe Biden‘s and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy‘s (R-CA) respective teams.
Reuters reported earlier in the day that White House and House Republican negotiators are nearing an agreement on a slimmed-down package to address the debt ceiling ahead of a June 1 “X-date.”
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The bulk of questions coming in Jean-Pierre’s Thursday briefing focused on the debt proceedings, but she claimed that the negotiations were focused on federal appropriations levels and that there is no “Plan B” to raise the debt limit short of bipartisan congressional action.
“What I can say is the only option that we have is for Congress to do its job, for Congress to deal with the debt limit. That’s the only option in front of us that is the best option for the American people,” she said in one exchange. “We’re being consistent here. We’ve been saying that they need to do their job.”
Asked about the president’s decision to travel to Camp David and Wilmington, Delaware, over the holiday weekend despite the negotiations, Jean-Pierre shot down the idea that the White House wasn’t accepting the “urgency” of the situation.
“There’s always been urgency. We’ve called this out over and over again how urgent it is to get this done,” she claimed. “We’ve been laying out again for months and months how catastrophic this could be if Congress didn’t do its job and deal with the debt limit.”
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You can watch Thursday’s briefing in full below.