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Biden and McCarthy meet over US federal debt ceiling deal in effort to avoid a default

President Joe Biden’s focus during Tuesday’s Oval Office meeting will be on ensuring members of Congress “do their congressional duty,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters during a briefing.

“I mean, people have asked, ‘Will the President give Speaker McCarthy an off ramp, an exit strategy?’ The exit strategy is very, very clear—do your job, Congress must act prevent a default,” Jean-Pierre said.

She continued: “That’s what a success is – not for him, it’s not about the president – it’s about the American economy, it’s about the American people. That’s what the President view as success, that’s the way that it should be done — regular order. This is regular order. What House Republicans are saying is that they are they want to potentially, if they get their way, threatened the country’s first default, something that has never happened before. That’s what they’re threatening.” 

She pushed back against criticism from House Republicans that Biden was “ignoring” the problem, telling reporters: “The President is not ignoring the problem — the four leaders are going to be here today at 4 o’clock to have this conversation, the president’s going to make himself very clear.”

And she responded to comments from West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who told CNN’s Manu Raju that Biden has been “not rational” in negotiations over raising the debt ceiling.

“It’s not rational, it’s not reasonable, and it’s not practical for Congress to be doing what they’re doing, for House Republicans to be holding us up, for threatening to fall,” Jean-Pierre told CNN’s Jeremy Diamond. “That is where the problem should be, and that’s who should be called out. Speaker McCarthy is going to be here, and you know, what we’re seeing from House Republicans, from MAGA Republicans, is that they are making — they are manufacturing, a crisis that shouldn’t be.”

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