Biden Calls Meeting as Yellen Issues Default Warning

President asks congressional leaders to White House
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2023 5:16 PM CDT
Biden Calls Meeting as Yellen Issues Default Warning
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, shown April 20, called for action on the nation's debt ceiling.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Unless Congress does something about the debt ceiling quickly, the federal government could run out of money to pay its bills by June 1, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Monday. Her estimate adds pressure to lawmakers and President Biden to reach a deal to raise or suspend the debt limit, the New York Times reports. "Given the current projections, it is imperative that Congress act as soon as possible to increase or suspend the debt limit in a way that provides longer-term certainty that the government will continue to make its payments," Yellen said in a letter to Congress. There was a sign that the policymakers heard her.

On Monday afternoon, Biden phoned the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate to invite them to meet May 9 at the White House, per the AP. Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had called for Biden to engage in talks, but even earlier in the day, the president had shown no interest. June 1 is earlier than economists had predicted, per CNBC. The most recent estimate from Goldman Sachs was late July, though its economists noted that federal tax revenue could vary; it's been running below expectations. Yellen made the same point in her letter. Not acting, Yellen warned, could cause "severe hardship to American families, harm our global leadership position, and raise questions about our ability to defend our national security interests." (More debt ceiling stories.)

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