House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, expressed the importance of meeting with President Biden to discuss avoiding a government shutdown and addressing border security.
“I think it would be very important to have a meeting with the president,” McCarthy stated in response to a question about his interest in sitting down with Biden.
Lawmakers face a looming deadline, with the government funding deadline set for Saturday at midnight. The House has only passed one of its 12 appropriations bills, and disagreements within the GOP majority have hindered progress over the past week. The Senate has not passed any spending bills.
McCarthy revealed that House lawmakers would vote on advancing four more appropriations bills on Tuesday evening and hinted at a vote for a stopgap funding bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), later in the week.
While he did not provide specific funding numbers, McCarthy mentioned that the CR would include border security measures that align with conservative demands, though they may face challenges in the Senate and securing the president’s approval.
“I believe in good faith, if the president wants to help secure this border, which Americans on both sides of the aisle are asking… if he’s willing to take some actions to even sit down with us to make some changes along that border, we can keep the government open while we finish,” McCarthy stated.
He attributed the current border crisis to Biden’s policies, asserting that it was the president’s decisions that led to an influx of undocumented migrants overwhelming U.S. communities.
McCarthy and Biden previously met at the White House to negotiate a deal to raise the debt ceiling, which also included an agreement on the top line government spending figure for fiscal year 2024.
However, while the Senate has been developing its bills based on that limit, House GOP leaders have yielded to conservative hardliners’ demands for even deeper cuts, resulting in a top line figure approximately $120 billion lower than the agreement.
The White House and Biden’s allies have accused McCarthy of reneging on the bipartisan deal and positioning to place the blame for a potential government shutdown squarely on the House GOP.
When asked for a response, a White House spokesperson did not directly comment on McCarthy’s call for a meeting but referred to comments from press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre from the previous week. Jean-Pierre emphasized that keeping the government open was a basic duty of House Republicans and urged them to adhere to the bipartisan agreement they themselves had voted on.