President Biden hailed a rare example of bipartisan cooperation in Washington on Friday, saying in his first prime-time speech from the Oval Office that this week’s legislative budget deal averted an economic disaster from repaying the nation’s debt.
The legislation, known as the Fiscal Responsibility Act, passed the Senate late Thursday after receiving broad support in the House earlier in the week. The bill suspends the debt ceiling for two years and cuts spending.
Sitting behind a sturdy desk, Mr. Biden said he would soon sign the legislation and sought to reassure Americans that strong job growth — the economy added 339,000 jobs in May alone — would not be distracted by global fears that the U.S. ready to pay its dues.
“Retaining the full trust and credit of the United States is essential for all the progress we have made over the past few years,” said Mr. Biden said: “Passing this budget deal is critical. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
As a political deal maker who could compromise with his rivals, Mr. The speech was designed to double down on Biden’s longstanding brand. His advisers believe reputation is key to winning a second term in the White House.
But Mr. Biden used his nearly 12-minute remarks to highlight his administration’s achievements, which are fiercely opposed by Republicans, and vowed to continue pushing the Democratic agenda, which includes higher taxes on the wealthy, climate change and higher spending. No cuts to veterans and health care or the social safety net.
“Nobody got everything they wanted, but the American people got what they needed,” he said. “We’ve secured key priorities from Social Security to Medicare to Medicaid to transformative investments in infrastructure and clean energy,” he added.
Mr. Biden went out of his way to praise his Republican primary rival, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
“He and I, us and our teams, we were able to get along and get things done,” said Mr. Biden said. “We have been direct with each other, completely honest with each other and respectful of each other. Both sides have acted in good faith.
The president said he would sign the bill on Saturday, two days before the so-called ex-date, when the Treasury secretary said he would run out of money to pay the government’s bills, a situation that economists predicted would cause global uncertainty. Turbulence.
Presidents often set aside the Oval Office to address the nation about war, economic crises or natural disasters. After the space shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986, President Ronald Reagan delivered a scathing remark from there. President Donald J. Trump announced pandemic restrictions from the Oval Office in early 2020.
Mr. to use the same place on Friday. Biden’s decision underscores how closely he believes the country is headed for economic disaster.
Mr. For weeks, Biden and lawmakers had hoped to reach a deal to avoid that outcome, but deep divisions between Democrats and Republicans kept the country — and the rest of the world — on edge until votes in both chambers. .
In the House, conservative Republicans initially criticized Mr. Rebelled against McCarthy. Many Mr. They threatened McCarthy’s speakership, but backed off amid strong support for the speaker from other Republicans.
Some Democrats in the House and Senate also opposed the compromise, but as votes continued this week, the White House decided to remain largely silent, avoiding stoking conservative opposition and Mr. It hopes to make McCarthy’s job harder.
He said he would find a way to avoid a similar crisis over the debt ceiling in the future. Biden has said on several occasions, and referenced the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, that the debt of the United States “shall not be called into question. . . .”
Some legal experts believe that a president can use that clause to bypass the statutory debt ceiling, thereby avoiding the usual conflicts between the parties. Mr. Biden said last month that he hoped to “find a reason to take the 14th Amendment to the courts to see whether or not the 14th Amendment is actually something that can prevent it.”
“That’s another day,” he said on Sunday.
Before the Oval Office speech, Mr. Biden faced anger among some progressives in his party after he conceded to several Republican demands during the negotiations.
Some Democratic lawmakers voted against the debt ceiling legislation because of the new work requirements imposed on some food assistance recipients. White House officials have argued that the law removes work requirements for others, including the homeless and veterans.
The president angered some environmentalists by approving a natural gas pipeline through West Virginia and Virginia. Critics say the 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline would cut across the Appalachian Trail and harm wildlife and the environment.
Mr. For Biden, the debt ceiling deal helps avoid slowing down a strong economy, a key selling point for his campaign.
But his political advisers must be concerned about maintaining the support of the coalition of voters who put him in office in 2020, some of whom are disillusioned with his record on climate, criminal justice and other areas.