Although the treasury secretary is warning of a financial disaster if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, President Joe Biden has been adamant that he won't negotiate with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy about it.
Biden appears to have recently softened his stance, as Breitbart has reported that he requested to meet McCarthy next week. Still, that hasn't stopped the White House from doubling down on its defiant rhetoric.
Breitbart quoted White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre as telling reporters on Monday that she "wouldn’t read much into" Biden's request for McCarthy to visit the White House.
"It is clear that the only practical path to avoid default is for Congress to suspend the debt limit without conditions," Jean-Pierre asserted.
"The president is not going to negotiate on the debt ceiling. We’ve been very clear. That is not going to change," the White House press secretary insisted.
"During his meeting with the leaders, the president will discuss initiating a separate process to address the budget and appropriations," Jean-Pierre added.
She went on to reaffirm the administration's position that "Congress must act" to raise the debt ceiling without expecting any concessions in return.
Jean-Pierre also refused to discuss the potential for any short-term deals, saying, "We are not going to negotiate in public."
"The president reached out after analyzing what they [House Republicans] put forth and we’re going to have the president meeting with them next week," she added.
However, some observers argue that tough talk from the White House is an attempt to hide the weakness of its bargaining position.
They include Richard Stern, who serves as the Heritage Foundation’s director of the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget.
"What the Democrats have shown and what Biden’s shown is no vision whatsoever. What they’re offering is quite literally a bankruptcy of the country," Stern was quoted as telling Fox News late last week.
"It’s the kind of thing where I think that what the Democrats are offering, I think it’s part of why they haven’t offered as much of a plan, is that they know that their plan would lead to the destruction of the economy, to a higher inflation rate, to more poverty," he complained.
"And so I think conservatives having had the backbone to put that vision together, to pass it through the House, gives them the upper hand against a party and a president who only offers poverty and bankruptcy," Stern predicted.