Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks with the press after meeting with President Joe Biden in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington on Wednesday. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Newly elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he was encouraged by his meeting with President Joe Biden to discuss the national debt, which left him with the belief that an agreement can be reached.
The president hosted McCarthy, R-Calif., in the Oval Office on Wednesday to touch on several subjects, including avoiding default on the national debt.
The conversation was "frank" and "straightforward" according to the White House. It is the first of several conversations between the two to come in the months ahead, with the goal of reaching a resolution before the nation goes into default in June.
Biden also made it clear that he is open to discussing the matter with other members of Congress, a readout of the meeting stated.
"I don't want to put any words in his mouth. We had an hour of conversation about this that I thought was a very good discussion, and we walked out saying we would continue the discussion," McCarthy told reporters at the White House, reported by The Guardian.
"And I think there is an opportunity here to come to an agreement on both sides," he added.
McCarthy did not delve into the specifics of the conversation, according to the news report, but he brushed off the idea of forming a committee to study federal spending, an idea that was proposed as a compromise.
Despite some differences of opinion about how to best meet the challenge of curbing spending and making good on debt payments, McCarthy said he remains optimistic that such solutions will be found and executed.
"I would feel better, if I was the markets, based upon the meeting I had today," he said in an interview with Punchbowl News.
The White House said future conversations should build on the $1.7 trillion reduction in the deficit made during Biden's first two years in office.
"President Biden made clear that, as every other leader in both parties in Congress has affirmed, it is their shared duty not to allow an unprecedented and economically catastrophic default," the White House said.
"The United States Constitution is explicit about this obligation, and the American people expect Congress to meet it in the same way all of his predecessors have. It is not negotiable or conditional."