"By limiting government spending, we will reduce inflation and restore fiscal discipline in Washington," said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in a floor speech April 19.
Mr. McCarthy has called on Mr. Biden to negotiate around the debt ceiling and in an April 17 speech at the New York Stock Exchange said a "no-strings-attached debt limit increase cannot pass."
The White House has not changed its position and said it will not negotiate around the debt ceiling.
The debt limit or debt ceiling — the terms are used interchangeably — is a cap on the money the U.S. government can borrow to pay its bills. It does not authorize any new spending, but it allows the Treasury Department to finance the existing legal obligations already approved by Congress. The debt limit was last raised in December 2021 and stands at $31.4 trillion.
The federal government hit its statutory debt limit in January, and Treasury might be out of options to pay the nation's bills as soon as June.
On the House floor Wednesday, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., ranking member on the Rules Committee, called the bill "an extortion. You're saying if we don't agree to all these draconian cuts, they're going to hurt people that we fight for every day on this side of the aisle. If we don't do that, you're going to run this economy off a cliff. That's an all-time high in recklessness and stupidity."
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., chairman of the Rules Committee, said with Democrats in charge of the Senate and White House, Republicans know the bill as written won't become law. "What we're saying is, 'Let's sit down and talk things through and here's our opening position,'" he said Wednesday. "That's all that's going on here."
In a speech Tuesday in Sacramento, Calif., Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said a default on the nation's debt would "produce an economic and financial catastrophe." She added that the economic catastrophe is preventable and implored Congress to quickly raise or suspend the debt ceiling without conditions.