Biden to deliver a speech about bipartisan debt ceiling deal

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will address the nation from the Oval Office on Friday after Congress voted to cut spending and extend the debt ceiling for two years.

Biden’s press secretary said the president wants to reinforce how bipartisan cooperation helped avert the potential economic calamity of a debt default. The speech, Biden’s first Oval Office address, will be at 7 p.m. ET.

“He wants to talk directly to the American people and talk about how we were able to come together and deliver,” Karine Jean-Pierre said. “That’s important.” 

The Bipartisan Budget Agreement passed by a final vote of 63-36 in the Senate on Thursday night, sending the bill to the president’s desk.  Jean-Pierre said Biden will not sign the bill on Friday, and indicated it’s likely to happen on Saturday.

“Senators from both parties voted to protect the hard-earned economic progress we have made and prevent a first-ever default by the United States,” Biden said in a statement overnight.

Its companion bill in the Republican-led House, the Fiscal Responsibility Act, passed by a final vote of 314-117 one day earlier.

“It protects the core pillars of my Investing in America agenda that is creating good jobs across the country, fueling a resurgence in manufacturing, rebuilding our infrastructure, and advancing clean energy,” as well as programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, Biden said in the statement. “It protects my student debt relief plan for hardworking borrowers. And it honors America’s sacred obligation to our veterans by fully funding veterans’ medical care.”

He added, “I look forward to signing this bill into law as soon as possible.”

Biden brokered the deal with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy after promising that he would not negotiate over the debt ceiling, a posture he maintained even as the leaders hashed out a plan to slash the federal budget. The cuts angered members of both parties, with some Republicans insisting they were not severe enough, while Democrats argued they went too far.

Looming over the talks was the rapidly approaching threat of economic catastrophe as the government warned that it would soon run out of money to pay its bills. Biden cut short an overseas visit to return to the table in Washington as the clock wound down.

Throughout the fraught talks, Biden weighed using his powers to raise the government’s borrowing limit unilaterally by invoking the 14th Amendment, a move that would have relied on an untested legal theory but that some Democrats have urged the president to seriously consider.

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