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Monday, March 4, 2024

Biden says Republicans holding US economy ‘hostage’

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President Joe Biden accused Republicans on Friday of holding the US economy “hostage” by refusing to pass a debt limit increase unless he first agrees to “draconian” budget cuts.

Biden said he would tell congressional leaders when they meet on Tuesday that they must do “what every other Congress has done — that is pass the debt limit, avoid default.”

Republicans in Congress are insisting on Biden first accepting major budget cuts before they vote to extend the US debt ceiling, allowing the government to borrow more money.

The Biden administration says funds will run out as early as June 1 if the extension — an annual accounting maneuver that usually passes with little debate — doesn’t happen, triggering national debt default.

“They’re trying to hold the debt hostage to (get) us to agree to some draconian cuts,” Biden said at a White House meeting on the economy.

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Biden emphasized that he was ready to discuss budget reductions but not if the negotiation was linked to the debt ceiling.

“We can debate where to cut, how much to spend…, but not under the threat of default,” he said. “That’s why we have a budget process to debate in open.”

“We’re ready for that debate,” he said. But “the last thing this country needs, after all we’ve been through, is a manufactured crisis, and that’s what this is: a manufactured crisis from beginning to end.”

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