Joe Biden used his first Oval Office address to tout the debt ceiling deal and pledge to pursue bipartisanship

Biden at the desk in the Oval Office

President Joe Biden addresses the nation on the budget deal that lifts the federal debt ceiling and averts a U.S. government default, from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, June 2, 2023.Jim Watson/Pool via AP

  • Biden used his first address to the nation from the Oval Office to celebrate a “crisis averted.”

  • The Senate approved the bipartisan deal on Thursday, eliminating the risk of default.

  • “Passing this budget deal was critical. The stakes couldn’t have been higher,” Biden said.

President Joe Biden celebrated a “crisis averted” in his first address to the nation from the Oval Office on Friday night, ready to sign a budget deal that eliminates the potential for an unprecedented government default that he says will would have been catastrophic for the US and global economies. .

The Senate approved the bipartisan measure late Thursday night after passing the House in another late session the previous night. Biden is expected to sign him at the White House on Saturday with just two days to spare until the Treasury Department warns that the United States will not be able to meet its obligations.

“Passing this budget deal was critical. The stakes couldn’t have been higher,” Biden said. “Nothing would have been more catastrophic,” he said, than to default on the country’s debt.

The deal was struck by Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, giving Republicans some of their demanded federal spending cuts but keeping the line on top Democratic priorities. It raises the debt ceiling until 2025 – after the 2024 presidential election – and gives lawmakers fiscal targets for the next two years, hoping to provide fiscal stability as the political season unfolds. warms up.

“Nobody got everything they wanted, but the American people got what they needed,” Biden said, pointing to “compromise and consensus” in the deal. “We avoided an economic crisis and an economic collapse.”

Biden took the opportunity to detail first-term accomplishments as he seeks re-election, including support for high-tech manufacturing, infrastructure investments and financial incentives to fight change. climate – while also highlighting how he prevented deeper spending cuts pushed by the GOP that he says would have canceled his program.

“We’re cutting spending and cutting deficits at the same time,” Biden said. “We are protecting important priorities, from Social Security to Medicare to Medicaid to our transformational investments in infrastructure and clean energy.”

Although he pledged to continue working with Republicans, Biden also drew contrasts with the opposing party, particularly when it came to raising taxes on the wealthy, which the Democratic president has called for. This is something he suggested should wait until a second term.

“I will come back,” he said. “With your help, I will win.”

Biden’s remarks were the Democratic president’s most detailed comments on the compromise he and his team negotiated. He remained largely silent publicly during the high-stakes talks, a move that frustrated some in his party but was intended to give the two sides space to reach a deal and lawmakers to vote it into his office.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday that Biden was taking the opportunity to deliver his first address to the nation from behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office because “he just wanted to make sure the American people understood how important this was.” to achieve this, how important it was to do it in a bipartisan way.”

Biden praised McCarthy and his negotiators for acting in good faith, and all congressional leaders for ensuring swift passage of the legislation. “They acted responsibly and put the good of the country before politics,” he said.
And he renewed his style of government, which he described as less shouting and lower temperatures after four years of President Donald Trump.

“I know bipartisanship is difficult,” he said. “And unity is hard. But we can never stop trying.”

Overall, the 99-page bill limits spending for the next two years and changes some policies, including imposing new work requirements on older Americans receiving food assistance and greenlighting a gas pipeline from Appalachia that many Democrats oppose. Some environmental rules have been changed to help streamline approvals for infrastructure and energy projects — a move long sought by moderates in Congress.

The Congressional Budget Office says it could expand full eligibility for federal food assistance, with the elimination of work requirements for veterans, homeless people and young people leaving foster homes. .

The legislation also bolsters funds for defense and veterans, cuts new funds for the Internal Revenue Service and rejects Biden’s call to reverse Trump-era tax breaks on corporations and the wealthy to help cover the country’s deficits. But the White House said IRS plans to enforce tax laws for high-income people and corporations would continue.

The deal also mandates an automatic 1% overall reduction in spending programs if Congress does not approve its annual spending bills — a move designed to pressure lawmakers on both sides to reach a consensus. consensus before the end of the fiscal year in September.

In both chambers, more Democrats supported the legislation than Republicans, but both parties were critical to its passage. In the Senate, the tally was 63 to 36, including 46 Democrats and independents and 17 Republicans in favor, 31 Republicans with four Democrats and one independent who caucus with opposing Democrats.

The vote in the House was 314-117.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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