(NEW YORK) — In a speech at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, Speaker Kevin McCarthy said House Republicans will vote in “the coming weeks” on legislation to raise the debt ceiling but for only one year and tied to spending cuts.
He continued to blame President Joe Biden for not negotiating and accused him of “misleading the public.”
“I want to talk to you about the debate that’s not happening in Washington but should be happening over our national debt. It’s a debate that directly affects the lives of every American,” McCarthy said.
His latest salvo in the showdown comes as White House has warned that, if House Republicans fail to pass a debt ceiling increase by this summer with no budget cuts attached, it would create financial chaos in world markets.
McCarthy said a $31 trillion debt is “too high” and the “problem is getting worse, not better.”
“Without exaggeration, America’s debt is a ticking time bomb that will detonate unless we take serious, responsible action. Yet how has President Biden reacted to this issue? He’s done nothing. So, in my view, he’s been irresponsible,” McCarthy said.
Biden and McCarthy met 75 days ago on Feb. 1, but the two leaders have not met or spoken about the debt ceiling since — beyond trading claims to reporters.
The president has not budged on his refusal to negotiate over the debt limit and has dismissed GOP efforts to combine a debt ceiling vote to a deal on the budget.
“Mr. President, with all due respect, enough is enough. This is not how the leader of the free world should act. Your partisan political games are provoking the very crisis you claim you want to avoid greater dependency on China, increasing inflation, and threatening Medicare and Social Security,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy says defaulting on our debt is “not an option” but blames the Biden administration for not engaging in negotiations with House Republicans.
“Make no mistake: The longer President Biden waits to be sensible, to find agreement, the more likely it becomes that his administration will bumble into the first default in our nation’s history,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy says a “no strings attached” debt limit increase will not pass.
“In the coming weeks, the House will vote on a bill to lift the debt ceiling into next year, save taxpayers trillions of dollars, make us less dependent on China, and curb high inflation — all without touching Social Security or Medicare,” McCarthy said.
He claimed the bill will limit federal spending, economic dependence on China, and the growth of spending over the next 10 years to 1% annual growth. The bill will also “claw back” billions of dollars in unused COVID-19 related spending, he said.
“Our proposal will also include restoring work requirements that ensure able-bodied adults without dependents earn a paycheck and learn new skills. That will grow our economy and help the supply chain,” McCarthy said.
This bill will be dead on arrival in the Senate, McCarthy is hoping this will bring Biden to the negotiating table.
Ahead of McCarthy’s speech on Monday, the White House accused him of “holding the economy and full faith and credit of the United States hostage.”
“Speaker McCarthy is holding the full faith and credit of the United States hostage, threatening our economy and hardworking Americans’ retirement,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a written statement. “A speech isn’t a plan, but it’s clear that extreme MAGA Republicans’ wish lists will impose devastating cuts on hardworking families, send manufacturing overseas, take health care and food assistance away from millions of people, and increase energy costs — all while adding trillions to the debt with tax cuts skewed to the super-wealthy and corporations.”
Bates drew attention to when former Presidents Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan spoke out against debt-ceiling brinksmanship. And he noted that reporting on what McCarthy might call for in his speech “has shown no consensus within the Republican conference.”
“MAGA House Republicans can’t even agree what they are holding the debt limit hostage over,” Bates wrote. “Their proposals are all over the map, but they all have one thing in common: devastating cuts to programs that working families rely on to lower costs and make ends meet.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer — like the White House — slammed McCarthy, mocking his comparisons to Reagan – who, the top Senate Democrat noted, spoke out against a debt default. Schumer said McCarthy continues to bumble our economy toward a catastrophic default.”
“I’ll be blunt. If Speaker McCarthy continues in this direction, we are headed to a default,” Schumer said in some of his strongest language yet.
“President Biden and I are happy to meet with the speaker when he has something to talk about — the plan,” Schumer told reporters, later reiterating his remarks on the Senate floor.
McCarthy closed out his speech on Monday saying, “Well, if there’s one thing I hope America has learned about me in these first 100 days since I was elected speaker, it’s this: I will never give up.”
He said he has “full confidence that if we limit” federal spending, the U.S. will end dependence on China, curb inflation and protect Social Security and Medicare for the next generation.
“I’m here to tell you I want a responsible, sensible debt ceiling that puts us on an economic path to make America stronger. That works for every American. But that cannot happen if the president continues to ignore the problem and he can’t continue any longer. The day is coming. I do not want to see this president bumble into a default. I want to sit down and solve the problem together,” McCarthy said.
ABC News’ Trish Turner, Ben Gittleson and Isabella Murray contributed to this report.
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