Tense White House Debt-Limit Meeting Ends With No Agreement

 

Following a contentious meeting with President Joe Biden on Tuesday regarding the country’s debt limit, top U.S. politicians left the situation dissatisfied and unsatisfied. As the United States faces the potential of defaulting on its financial commitments for the first time in history, Biden tried to allay fears about the state of the world’s financial system by saying that he thought the meeting was “productive” and that the group will meet again on Friday.

In an effort to ensure that the government can borrow more money to pay for spending it has already incurred, Biden met with Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic House Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday afternoon. After then, Biden expressed hope for a new agreement. He did, however, stress that he would keep pressing Congress to raise the debt ceiling.

During our meeting, “I made it clear that default is not an option,” he remarked. I emphasized that “America is not a deadbeat nation” over and time again.

Before agreeing to raise the debt ceiling, Republicans demand that the federal government cut expenditures. However, Biden is emphatic that the two issues should be handled independently because Congress has a responsibility to pay its debts. The standoff is being blamed on both sides, and Biden stated that “a default would be disastrous.”

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to reporters after holding debt limit talks with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic congressional leaders at the White House in Washington, May 9, 2023.

 

Everyone present at the meeting was aware of the potential of default, which would cause our economy to experience a severe recession, irreparable damage to retirement assets, and a rise in borrowing prices, according to Biden. Nearly 8 million Americans would lose their employment and Moody’s claims that our country’s standing abroad would suffer greatly.

McCarthy, though, left the meeting seeming dissatisfied that there had been no advancement.

“I didn’t see any new movement,” McCarthy affirmed. “I repeatedly questioned him, ‘Are there some places we could find savings?'” he continued. He refused to offer any to me.

However, McConnell made an effort to reassure Americans that the United States will keep making debt payments. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned legislators last week that the Treasury could run out of money as early as June 1 despite adopting “extraordinary measures” to pay the government’s debts.

“The United States is not going to default,” he declared. “It has never done so and it never will.”

Making a mistake a “gift” to enemies

The White House issued a warning earlier in the day, stating that a US debt default would be “a gift” to China and Russia as well as trigger a recession that may have a profound impact on the global economy.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that a default “would create global uncertainty about the value of the U.S. dollar and U.S. institutions and leadership, leading to volatility in currency and financial markets and commodity markets that are priced in dollars.”

Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence, previously discussed the implications for the national security of the United States’ precarious position on the fiscal cliff with the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The Treasury debt ceiling, which restricts the nation’s ability to issue securities to pay for its debts and, consequently, the amount of outstanding debt it can have, was reached on January 19.

Trump upped the ceiling three times.

It used to be a normal vote to raise the debt ceiling. Since 1960, Congress has raised it 78 times, including three times under former President Donald Trump. This includes 29 times under Democratic presidents and 49 times under Republican presidents.

Even this rhetorical combat, according to policy analyst Arianna Fano of the Bipartisan Policy Centre, will have an effect on markets. For countries with substantial levels of external debt, she claimed, a default would be exceedingly difficult.

We know the economic effects of a true default would vary from harmful to catastrophic given the costs of this brinkmanship alone, Fano said. “Treasury securities are considered to be one of the safest assets in the world, but in a default scenario investors could look to minimize their risk exposure by pulling investments from developing countries, reducing access to capital and stifling economic growth.”

How would a US default affect the world?

Because of the size of the U.S. economy and the fact that the dollar is regarded as the reserve currency of the world, many central banks and other monetary authorities keep U.S. dollars in their foreign exchange reserves as a fallback in case their own currency collapses.

A debt catastrophe in the United States would have major ramifications for the global economy and financial markets in addition to the United States.

In addition to upsetting international stock markets and plunging the American economy into recession, the United States defaulting on its debts would cause a sell-off of U.S. Treasury bonds, devaluing the dollar and pushing up interest rates. This would have an impact on other nations’ foreign currency reserves, making borrowing more expensive, and potentially causing debt crises in nations with already high borrowing rates.

“All other interest rates will increase if interest rates in the United States rise. Desmond Lachman, a former deputy director at the International Monetary Fund and current fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, predicted that it would make all other risk assets appear extremely fragile.

He shared Janet Yellen’s opinion that a U.S. debt default would be an economic disaster that needed to be prevented.

According to Lachman, the world cannot afford such financial instability, particularly in light of the regional banking crisis that started in March with the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, followed by the failures of two further U.S. institutions, First Republic and Signature Bank.

a risk-free investment

U.S. Treasury bonds are traditionally considered the safest investment that global financial investors turn to in times of distress, said Heidi Crebo-Rediker, former chief economist of the U.S. Department of State and adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“It is the deepest, most liquid, solid, and reliable market in the world,” she said.

Crebo-Rediker added that countries and investors need not be overly concerned about an actual U.S. default.

“This is a question of willingness to pay, not ability to pay,” she said. “And that is a very big distinction.”

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