- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 28, 2023

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy presented on Tuesday a set of broad goals that would need to be met in exchange for raising the debt limit. 

Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, outlined the priorities in a letter to the White House urging President Biden to start official negotiations on raising the cap for how much the federal government can borrow to meet expenses. 

“I am incredibly concerned that you are putting an already fragile economy in jeopardy by insisting upon your extreme position of refusing to negotiate any meaningful changes to out-of-control government spending,” the speaker wrote. 

Mr. McCarthy said any deal that would raise the debt ceiling would have to meet at least four broad criteria: 

• Clawing back at least $90.5 billion in unspent coronavirus funding.

• Expanding work requirements for federal entitlement programs.

• Reducing domestic spending to pre-COVID-19 “inflationary levels” and limiting future growth.

• Enacting legislation to lower energy costs, address crime and enhance border security.

The letter presents the most succinct position taken by House Republicans on the debt limit.

Mr. McCarthy has long said that spending cuts would be required in exchange for proving the votes necessary to raise the borrowing cap but has refused to identify what programs should be slashed. 

Mr. Biden has seized on the lack of a detailed plan in his refusal to negotiate.  

“It’s time for Republicans to stop playing games, agree to pass a clean debt ceiling bill, and quit threatening to wreak havoc on our economy,” the White House said in a statement. “And if they want to have a conversation about our nation’s economic and fiscal future, it’s time for them to put out a budget — as the president has done with his detailed plan to grow the economy, lower costs, and reduce the deficit by nearly $3 trillion.”

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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