Biden at National Prayer Breakfast: McCarthy and I will treat ‘each other with respect’

President Biden
Annabelle Gordon
President Biden speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, February 2, 2023.

President Biden on Thursday said that he and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calf.) are planning on treating each other with respect amid ongoing debt ceiling discussions, calling on all Washington lawmakers to do the same.

“Let’s just sort of, kind of, join hands again a little bit. Let’s start treating each other with respect. That’s what Kevin and I are going to do,” Biden said at the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Capitol Hill.

“Not a joke, we had a good meeting yesterday. I think we got to do it across the board. It doesn’t mean we’re going to agree and fight like hell. But let’s treat each other with respect,” the president added.

He said that there is more that unites Americans than divides and, calling back his 2020 presidential campaign slogan, he said that we can redeem “the soul of the nation.”

The president also said that his prayer for this prayer breakfast is “we start to see each other again, look at each other again, travel with each other again, argue like hell with each other again but then still go to lunch together.”

Biden and McCarthy met for the first time in this new Congress face-to-face at the White House on Wednesday.

McCarthy left the meeting signaling optimism about the chances of an agreement between the White House and Congress to avoid a government default, though neither side made any commitments.

The Speaker said that the hour-long conversation was good discussion that they will continue and the White House said in a readout of the meeting that Biden and McCarthy “had a frank and straightforward dialogue.”

Biden and White House officials have said Congress should raise the debt limit without conditions, while some Republicans have argued any vote to raise the debt ceiling should include cuts to government spending.

The government is on track to default as early as June if Congress does not raise the debt limit, which could send the U.S. and global economies spiraling. The debt ceiling allows the government to pay for spending commitments it has already made, not future spending.

Tags Biden Biden debt ceiling Kevin McCarthy McCarthy National Prayer Breakfast Speakler

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