US Politics

FLASHBACK: Biden praised debt ceiling talks as VP, said it was ‘great honor’ to negotiate with GOP

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily press briefing on Jan. 20, 2023.

The White House and several Democrats have vowed to not negotiate with Republicans over the debt ceiling, but President Biden himself previously championed the importance of having conversations with those across the aisle during his time as vice president.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked earlier this month about debt ceiling negotiations and whether President Biden is willing to “cut any spending” or would be willing to negotiate with Republicans who “want to cut spending as part of a debt limit deal.”

“Look, as you’ve heard us say before, we will not be doing any negotiation over the debt ceiling,” Jean-Pierre said.

“What we’re saying is that… this should be done without conditions,” she added. “In the past… we have seen both Republicans and Democrats come together to deal with this issue. It is one of the basic items that Congress has to deal with, and it should be done without condition. So, there’s going to be no negotiation over it. This is something that must get done.”


White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily press briefing on Jan. 20, 2023.
(MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The current stance taken by the White House, as well as Democrats who do not wish to work with Republicans over the debt limit, appears to go against prior remarks made by then-Vice President Joe Biden from 2011 to 2012 on negotiations surrounding the debt ceiling and how members of Congress should work together to reach “certain compromises.”

In May 2011, Biden, who played a role in deficit reduction and debt limit negotiations with the new Republican House majority that year, said he was “really pleased and thankful” to those who showed up to discuss the issues at a bipartisan meeting.

“I’m really pleased and thankful all these guys showed up to begin the hard business of trying to deal with what’s at hand here,” Biden said at the time. “This is an opening meeting where today I had a chance to talk a little bit with each of my colleagues. We’re going to lay down not hard negotiating positions, but make sure each of us understand where the other guy is coming from.”

Three months later, in August 2011, Biden provided an update to reporters on negotiations with Republicans about raising the debt ceiling, insisting that the conversations at the time were essential in order to have a “normal political battle” about…

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