Kaine: Biden Invitation to McCarthy to Discuss Debt Ceiling a ‘Good Thing’

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) said on Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that President Joe Biden’s invitation to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to discuss the debt ceiling was a “good thing.”

Partial transcript as follows:

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. And that may take some time. I want to ask you about some of the business that Congress will have to get to soon. As you know, the White House wants a clean lift to the debt limit with no strings attached. Senator Manchin said it’s a mistake for the White House to refuse to negotiate with Republicans. Do you think that position is changing? Is it a mistake?

KAINE: Well, first, we should- we should have a clean lift of the debt ceiling because the 14th Amendment to the Constitution says nobody should question the credit worthiness of the United States. This is about whether the U.S. pays our credit card or not. And I don’t think anyone should flirt with not paying for the US credit card, which is what Republicans are doing. So the White House position is correct. We should raise the debt ceiling. But if Republicans are saying they won’t do it and they’re threatening our credit worthiness because they want cuts, let them put cuts on the table. Is it the cutting Social Security and Medicare that Rick Scott wanted to do is a cutting aid to Ukraine in the middle of a war between a democracy and an illegally invading dictator? Let them put on the table what they want to cut so that the American public can see what their priorities are.

BRENNAN: Speaker McCarthy has said the president has invited him to speak, have a conversation and discuss a responsible lift to the debt ceiling. So what does that mean? How does this politically get dressed up so we avoid the cliff?

KAINE: Well, first, that’s a good thing. I’m very, very happy that the president and Speaker McCarthy are talking. That’s really positive. How do we fix this? Jeff Merkley and I have a bill that’s based upon an earlier fix that Senator McConnell led during the Obama administration when there was a similar brinksmanship around the debt ceiling. And Senator McConnell said, look, we will allow the president to raise it subject to a congressional disapproval. And that was done. And we think that should be the norm anyway. So we have a bill called the Protect Our Credit Act that would basically say the president has got to cover the debts of the United States. And if that includes raising the debt ceiling, the president can do that. But if Congress disapproves, then you can have an expedited up or down vote in Congress. And I think that’s the right solution to this.

BRENNAN: Before I let you go, you’re on Armed Services. How concerned are you that Secretary of Defense Austin left Germany with no agreement among Western allies to provide tanks to Ukraine?

KAINE: Margaret, there are- there are some differences about exactly what- and what’s the timing in terms of providing equipment. But we have assembled a global coalition to support Ukraine. The unity has been very strong and the support, bipartisan, bicameral in Congress has been very strong. And I think that will continue.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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