Flip Flop: Joe Biden Boasted 2011 Debt Limit Negotiations with GOP, Contrasting His 2023 Posture

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a primetime speech at Independence National Historical P
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Then-Vice President Joe Biden boasted several times in 2011 about negotiating a debt limit standoff with Republicans, contrasting his current posture with House Republicans as president.

Biden, who has refused to negotiate with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on the debt ceiling, championed compromising in 2011 with House Republicans, whom he scolded for not properly negotiating with the Obama administration.

“How can you explain the fact that grown men and women are unwilling to budge, up till now, and still some of them are still unwilling to budge by taking an absolute position: ‘My way or no way,'” Biden said on CBS News.

“That’s not governing,” Biden said. “I predict to you that a lot of those new members who came here with ‘my way or the highway,’ they will either be on the highway or they will learn that they have to have compromise”:

The 2011 debt ceiling negotiations consumed Washington in a showdown between “tea party” House Republicans and the Obama administration. Biden was the chief negotiator on the deal, which was only resolved in the eleventh hour as Senate Republicans and some Democrats created a ‘Super Committee’ to recommend reductions and ensure there would be no debt default.

“I have had the great honor of spending hours and hours and hours with you, covering my negotiating the debt limit and other things with the leaders of the Republican Party,” Biden boasted to NBC News in 2012.

During the negotiations, Biden even met with Republicans to understand their position, contrasting his stonewalling position today.

“I’m really pleased and thankful that all these guys showed up to begin the hard business of trying to deal with what’s at hand here,” he said to congressional leaders during a meeting about the debt limit.

“We have to make some progress. This is an opening meeting where today we had a chance to talk a little bit with each of my colleagues,” Biden continued. “We are going to lay down not hard negotiating positions but make sure each of us understands where the other guy is coming from”:

The 2011 debt limit negotiation contrasts with the 2023 talks. On Thursday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to clarify when or if Biden would meet with McCarthy to negotiate the debt limit, saying only that “we’re going to analyze what’s put forward to us, and we’ll have more to share.”

This week, the House is set to vote on a $4.5 trillion bill, the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which will raise the debt limit into 2024 while cutting federal spending by billions.

Biden has called the plan full of “wacko notions.”

“Folks, you got to ask yourself, what are MAGA Republicans in Congress doing?” Biden questioned the proposal last week. “Why are they doing this? What is the purpose.”

Watch — White House: Biden Does Not Support Cuts Tied to Debt Limit After Supporting Them in 2011 Because He Is “Living By” “Fiscal Responsibility”

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.


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