Watch CBS News

White House says Biden would veto House Republicans' debt ceiling bill

McCarthy seeking support for spending bill
Speaker McCarthy moves to secure support for debt limit, federal spending plan 03:50

Washington — The White House said Tuesday that it "strongly opposes" House Republicans' bill that would lift the debt ceiling into 2024 but slash federal spending, and warned that President Biden would veto the proposal if it were to land on his desk.

The White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) called the 320-page legislation, known as the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, a "reckless attempt to extract extreme concessions as a condition for the United States simply paying the bills it has already incurred."

"Altogether, this legislation would not only risk default, recession, widespread job loss, and years of higher interest rates, but also make devastating cuts to programs that hard-working Americans and the middle-class count on," OMB said in a statement of administration policy.

The White House budget office said the House GOP's plan "stands in stark contrast to the president's vision for the economy" and his budget proposal for the 2024 fiscal year that was sent to Congress last month. 

"Therefore, if the president were presented with the Limit, Save, Gros Act of 2023, he would veto it," the statement read.

House Republicans could vote this week on their legislation that pairs an increase in the debt ceiling through March 2024 with $4.5 trillion in spending cuts. The proposal was unveiled last week by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and represents the GOP's opening bid to Mr. Biden in negotiations over addressing the debt limit.

Republicans are insistent that any plan to raise or suspend the debt limit must be paired with cuts to federal spending. But Mr. Biden and Democrats have said they will only accept legislation that addresses the debt limit with no conditions attached.

The competing positions have left the president and McCarthy at an impasse as the threat of a default grows.

The U.S. hit its borrowing capacity of nearly $31.4 trillion in mid-January, forcing the Treasury to employ "extraordinary measures" to avoid defaulting on its debt. The Congressional Budget Office estimates those extraordinary measures could be exhausted as early as July unless lawmakers take action to avert an historic default, which would have catastrophic consequences for the U.S. economy.

The GOP's plan raises the debt limit through March 2024 or by $1.5 trillion, whichever happens first. It also freezes spending at levels adopted in fiscal year 2022 and caps future federal spending increases at 1% annually for the next decade.

The legislation claws back unspent federal COVID-19 relief funds, rescinds some of the $80 billion for the Internal Revenue Service approved through the Inflation Reduction Act and imposes stricter work requirements on recipients of food stamps and Medicaid.

Republicans' legislation also targets some of Mr. Biden's key policies, including unwinding his plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt for up to 40 million Americans and rescinding climate provisions enacted through the Inflation Reduction Act, Democrats' marquee health care, tax and climate bill. 

The slim margins for Republicans in the House complicate the path to their proposal's passage, and McCarthy can only afford four defections from his GOP colleagues in order for the debt limit bill to clear the lower chamber. The legislation is dead on arrival in the Senate, where Democrats hold a 51-seat majority and 60 votes are needed for measures to advance.

While GOP lawmakers argue their plan tackles what they believe is out-of-control government spending, the White House warned it would harm middle-class Americans while risking a default on the nation's debt.

"The president has been clear that he will not accept such attempts at hostage-taking," the budget office said. "House Republicans must take default off the table and address the debt limit without demands and conditions, just as the Congress did three times during the prior administration."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.