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 May 21, 2023

WH press secretary flails when asked whether Biden trusts Harris to lead debt ceiling negotiations

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre recently struggled to explain why it is that President Joe Biden will not let Vice President Kamala Harris handle debt ceiling negotiations while Biden is out of the country. 

Jean-Pierre was confronted about the situation by Fox News's Peter Doocy during Friday's press briefing. There, Doocy asked:

The last time that we got this close to a debt ceiling default, President [Barack] Obama deputized his vice president to lead the negotiations. Why doesn't President Biden trust Vice President Harris to lead these negotiations?

Jean-Pierre responded by disputing the implied notion that Biden does not trust Harris to lead the negotiations.

Jean-Pierre said, "Well, I disagree with your — the premise of your question. The President does — does . . ."

At this point, Doocy interrupted, saying, "She's in Los Angeles. She could be at the Capitol. Why isn’t she?"

Jean-Pierre, however, continued with her answer, saying, "The President entrusts the Vice President, as we all know, as we have stated many times."

Jean-Pierre tried to back this up with some evidence, saying, "She — she was in the meeting that — with the congressional members that occurred very recently, right before the President left for Japan." And, Jean-Pierre insisted that Biden has taken Harris's "consult and listened to her advice" regarding the debt ceiling "as he always does on many issues."

Then, Jean-Pierre went on to reiterate one of the administration's talking points regarding the debt ceiling negotiations, namely, that Biden "has been there before," that "he has dealt with these types of negotiations, these types of conversations before. He knows how this all works."

Suffice it to say, though, that it was not the most convincing answer from Jean-Pierre, regarding whether Biden trusts Harris to lead the debt ceiling negotiations.

Given Harris's track record, it would not be that surprising to anyone if Biden does not trust Harris in this regard.

We are now approaching the point at which the U.S. government will no longer be able to pay for its debt without taking on more borrowing. The U.S. Treasury Department has estimated that June 1, roughly, is the cut-off date.

Biden and Republicans continue to negotiate.

At the time of this writing, Biden was scheduled to meet with Republicans on Sunday, May 21. It is unclear how or even if the two sides are close to reaching a deal.

Biden has indicated that he is not happy with the Republicans' latest offer. But, he has recently expressed a willingness to cut some spending and make some tax adjustments in an attempt to come to terms with the Republicans.

Written By:
Oliver Winters

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