March 31, 2023: When Kevin McCarthy worked previously this year to get enough votes from his own Republicans to become Speaker of the House of Representatives, Democratic President Joe Biden hailed the lengthy saga a national embarrassment, then had a small fun.
“I’ve got good news for you,” Biden stated, meaning playfully at a reporter after a speech in Kentucky. “They just elected you, speaker.”
During months of tense exchanges over the U.S. debt ceiling, McCarthy swiped at Biden. McCarthy argued that Biden should meet him to discuss his demands for raising the debt ceiling in March, and he made fun of the 80-year-old president’s progressive age.
“I would bring lunch to the White House. I would make it soft food if that’s what he wants. It doesn’t matter. Whatever it takes to meet,” McCarthy told reporters.
In the last few weeks, however, both men have stopped the put-downs and cobbled together an agreement that will now lead to a congressional vote to suspend the U.S. debt ceiling and avoid a default that would wreak economic havoc on the land.
Like the deal they crafted, the connection the two men forged does not look pretty, but it appears to have gotten the job done.
“I think he negotiated with me in the right faith,” Biden said of McCarthy on Sunday.
“He kept his word. He said what he would do. He did what he stated that he would do.”
The deal caps federal spending and forces more poor people to work for food aid, submissions that Democrats despise. But it also preserves much of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and punts the following debt ceiling showdown into 2025, which Republicans hate.