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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy held a press conference on Tuesday evening

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy accused President Joe Biden of 'playing politics' with the U.S. debt limit on Tuesday amid a standoff over how to avoid a massive national default that could tank financial markets across the globe.

'I want to look the president in the eye, and tell me there's not $1 of wasteful spending in government.

Who believes that? the American public doesn't believe that,' the Republican leader told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday evening.

'Our whole government is designed to have compromise, but here's the leader of the free world, pounding on the table, being irresponsible, saying "No, no, no, just raise the limit. Make us spend more." No, that's not how adults act.'

It comes the same day as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sent a letter to McCarthy notifying him that her department would be temporarily choking off funds to a government employee retirement and healthcare program as part of 'extraordinary' measures taken to keep paying the country's bills. 

She notified Congress last week that the U.S had run up against its debt limit - the total amount of monetary debt the federal government is allowed to carry, with which it pays military salaries, social security benefits, and other programs that affect millions of people.

House Republicans have made clear that they will not agree to raising the debt ceiling without offsetting it with spending cuts elsewhere. 

The White House and Senate Democrats, meanwhile, are refusing to budge on such negotiations. Biden officials have argued that raising the debt ceiling is an 'obligation' of the government.

A Friday statement said Biden 'looks forward' to sitting down with McCarthy to discuss issues facing the country, including its debts.

McCarthy said he wanted to speak with the White House about spending cuts but that they refused to negotiate on it

Democrats have stated that raising the debt limit is an 'obligation' rather than a 'negotiation'

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But the California Republican suggested on Tuesday that such a meeting is far from being on the calendar.

'What I have asked for, is to sit down, let's find common ground, and let’s eliminate the wasteful spending to protect the hardworking taxpayers to protect the future of America,' McCarthy told reporters.

'And for the President to say he wouldn't even negotiate, that’s irresponsible. We're going to be responsible. We're going to be sensible and we're going to get this done together.'

But they'll have to get it done before the U.S. defaults - something that has not happened in the history of the country.

When the country came close in 2011 amid a stalemate in Congress, the U.S. lost its top tier credit rating from Standard and Poor's Rating Services.

The financial crisis threatened to upend the global economy at the time, much as it does now.

The debt ceiling was last raised by Congress in late 2021.

Avoiding a clean debt limit increase without spending cuts was among the key terms McCarthy agreed to earlier this month to win the Speaker's gavel, clinching enough conservative support after four days and 15 rounds of voting.

News Source: dailymail.co.uk

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