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Tipsheet

Desperate White House Briefing Shows McCarthy Has Biden Backed Into a Corner

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

As a potential default on the country's debt looms, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was a bit frazzled while trying to answer reporters' questions on Tuesday afternoon, finding herself contradicting the Biden administration's previously stated (by her) positions on the matter. 

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"The president has been engaging, or trying to engage, with Republicans for months now — for months," Jean-Pierre insisted.

Biden's spokeswoman also insisted on Tuesday that she has "always been very clear" that the White House is "negotiating on the budget."

But, unfortunately for Jean-Pierre and the Biden administration, she's on tape singing a very different tune earlier this month and in the weeks before then — a complete reversal from this week's bragging about Biden's negotiations with House Republicans and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

First, President Biden refused to come to the negotiating table for more than two months as Speaker McCarthy sought talks over a plan to raise the debt ceiling while addressing America's out of control spending. So no, Biden was not the one "trying to engage" with Republicans. 

In fact, Karine Jean-Pierre was in full hair-on-fire mode in February with a warning that negotiating with Speaker McCarthy and "extreme Republicans in the House" on a bill to raise the debt ceiling "would lead us into chaos." Instead, Jean-Pierre insisted that the debt ceiling be lifted "without conditions."

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Jean-Pierre's hyperbole about "chaos" was, of course, based entirely on her false claims that the House Republicans' plan to raise the debt ceiling, avoid a default, and cap discretionary spending at FY 2022 levels would give America's children asthma and lead to citizens' being endangered by chemicals that "literally melt bones."

But, as Townhall reported at the time, the supposedly disastrous (and falsely forewarned) consequences that were a part of the House GOP plan were previously heralded and cheered by Democrats, including President Joe Biden. 

Even more recently, earlier this month, Jean-Pierre said that Biden "has been very clear" that "we are not going to negotiate over the debt limit." Yet on Tuesday, Jean-Pierre was defending Biden against accusations he's not an effective leader by reversing her previously stated position and explaining just how hard Biden is allegedly working on negotiating.

So, what changed?

As Jean-Pierre attempted to explain on Tuesday, there's supposedly a difference between negotiating a default and negotiating on the budget — or at least that's her lame, cobbled-together excuse for why she and President Biden completely changed their tune. 

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In reality, there was never going to be negotiations over a default — both Speaker McCarthy and President Biden said from the start that default was unacceptable. That's why Speaker McCarthy and the House GOP passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act to avoid a default by raising the debt limit.

What really happened is that McCarthy outpaced Biden's expectations and caught the White House completely off-guard. They wrongly assumed McCarthy wouldn't have leverage and would have to pass a bill that only raised the debt limit without any conditions. But McCarthy won, succeeding at passing the House GOP's debt plan, and Biden was forced to come to the table — a place where Democrats are seemingly continuing to lose as McCarthy holds his ground. Hence Jean-Pierre's scrambling to construct a narrative — however contradictory — to try saving face for President Biden. 

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