Early this year, when Kevin McCarthy was having trouble getting enough votes from his fellow Republicans to become Speaker of the House of Representatives, Democratic President Joe Biden called it a national embarrassment and then had some fun with it. “I’ve got good news for you,” Biden said to a reporter after a speech in Kentucky, pointing at the person in a playful way. “They just chose you to be the speaker.”
McCarthy has also said some mean things about Biden during the months of tense talks about the U.S. debt ceiling. McCarthy made fun of the president’s age when he said Biden should meet with him in March to talk about his demands to raise the debt ceiling. “I’d bring food to the White House for lunch. If that’s what he wants, I’d make it soft. It doesn’t matter. McCarthy told reporters, “I’ll do whatever it takes to meet.”
In the last few weeks, however, both men have stopped putting each other down and have come up with a deal that will lead to a vote in Congress to suspend the U.S. debt ceiling and avoid a default that would be bad for the country’s economy. The relationship between the two men doesn’t look as good as the deal they made, but it seems to have done the job.
“I think he negotiated with me in good faith,” Biden said about McCarthy on Sunday. “He kept his word. He told what he was going to do. He did what he promised to do.” The deal puts a cap on federal spending and makes more poor people work for food aid, which Democrats hate. But it keeps a lot of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and puts off the next fight over the debt ceiling until 2025, which Republicans hate.
STRANGE PARTNERS IN POLITICS
Biden, a former senator from Delaware with a lot of experience, talks about how both parties used to work together to solve important problems. As part of his larger efforts to get the country back on track, he has pushed his fellow Democrats to find ways to work with Republicans. At first, he wanted the debt ceiling to be raised without any talks, but in the end, he had to make concessions.
McCarthy, who is from California and is 58 years old, is a good example of a rough style of Republican politics that started with the “Tea Party” and grew under former President Donald Trump. As he moved up in the party, he pushed for tax cuts for businesses and less government spending. Now, as Speaker of the House, he is in charge of an unruly Republican Party where radical lawmakers have threatened to get rid of him if he doesn’t stand up to the White House.
McCarthy was hopeful after their first meeting on February 1 at the White House. He said that he and Biden would find things they had in common and meet again soon. Instead, they fought for three months. Biden wouldn’t talk, and the White House was betting that investors and business groups would get Republicans to back down on their threat to force the U.S. into default. During that time, both McCarthy and Biden said that the other was putting the economy of the United States at risk. McCarthy didn’t like how far away he was from the White House.
“No one from the White House ever got in touch with me. No one from the administration got in touch with me. “I called them,” the speaker of the House told reporters in March at a Republican retreat. Even when negotiations finally got serious, McCarthy said the president was in the hands of “socialists” who wanted to let the country go bankrupt. McCarthy tweeted last week, “He’d rather be the first president ever to default on the debt than risk upsetting the radical socialists who are running the Democrats right now.”