McCarthy floats meeting with Biden on government shutdown, border

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Tuesday that it would be ‘important’ to meet with President Biden to discuss averting a government shutdown and how to secure the border.

‘I think it would be very important to have a meeting with the president,’ McCarthy told reporters when asked if he wanted to sit down with Biden.

Lawmakers have until Saturday at midnight to forge a path forward on funding the government or risk a partial government shutdown. The House has passed just one of its 12 appropriations bills, but disagreements within the GOP majority have stymied virtually all progress over the last week. The Senate has yet to pass a single spending bill.

McCarthy said House lawmakers would vote to advance four more appropriations bills on Tuesday evening, and suggested he would tee up a vote for a stopgap funding bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), later this week.

He did not give details on the top line funding numbers, but said it would include border security measures that conservatives have long demanded but that have little, if any, chance of passing in the Senate and getting the president’s signature. 

‘I believe in good faith, if the president wants to help secure this border, which Americans on both sides of the aisle are asking… if he’s willing to take some actions to even sit down with us to make some changes along that border, we can keep government open while we finish,’ McCarthy said Tuesday.

He blamed Biden unilaterally for the current border crisis, claiming it was his policies that have led to a surge in undocumented migrants overwhelming U.S. cities and towns.

‘The only person that can deal with this is the president because the president is the one who made the policy decisions that were different,’ McCarthy said.

McCarthy and Biden previously met at the White House to hash out a deal to raise the debt ceiling, which also included a commitment on the top line government spending number for fiscal year 2024.

But while the Senate has been putting together its bills with that limit in mind, House GOP leaders have given into conservative hardliners’ demands to pass even deeper cuts, with a top line that’s roughly $120 billion below the deal.

The White House and Biden allies have accused McCarthy of reneging on the bipartisan agreement, positioning to blame a possible shutdown squarely on the House GOP.

When reached for comment, a White House spokesperson did not weigh in directly on McCarthy’s comments about a meeting, but pointed Fox News Digital to comments from press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made last week.

‘This is something for House Republicans to deal with. It is their job. It is one of their basic duties to keep the government open. It truly is,’ Jean-Pierre said at her regular press briefing. ‘The President did his job, right? He helped broker a bipartisan legislation that two thirds of that… was voted by Republicans. And so, a deal is a deal. They need to stick to what they agreed upon — what they, themselves, voted on. And so, that is for Speaker McCarthy… to figure out how he’s going to move forward here. But this is for them to fix.’

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