Biden says Republicans manufacturing a crisis over debt limit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden sharply criticized ‘MAGA’ Republicans for their refusal to vote in a higher federal debt ceiling, signaling that there would be little compromise from the White House at a key May 9 meeting with congressional leaders.

Republicans are “divided” on the debt ceiling, Biden said, speaking ahead of a meeting on U.S. investment at the White House, and so-called MAGA Republicans are pushing “draconian” cuts in the budget.

“The last thing this country needs … is a manufactured crisis,” he said.

Biden criticized House Republicans for threatening not to raise the debt limit unless Biden and Democrats agree to steep cuts in the upcoming budget. “The two are totally unrelated. When you pay the debt or not it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with what your budget” is, he said.

Republicans and Democrats should be “debating our vision of the future” in front of the American people, he said. The May 9 meeting at the White House, with Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and top Democrats kicks off a frantic few weeks of negotiation before the U.S. runs out of money to pay its bills as soon as June 1.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Writing by Heather Timmons; Editing by Andrea Ricci)