Biden tells GOP his hopes, gets stiff response from McCarthy

Nov 29, 2022, 7:46 AM | Updated: Nov 30, 2022, 12:47 pm

CORRECTS YEAR TO 2022  - House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., left, and Senate Majority ...

CORRECTS YEAR TO 2022 - House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., left, and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., right, attend a meeting with President Joe Biden and congressional leaders to discuss legislative priorities for the rest of the year, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Tuesday he hopes both parties’ lawmakers can work together to keep the government open, boost spending for Ukraine and avert a crippling rail strike. But the Republicans’ pick to be the next House speaker shrugged off the sunny talk, serving notice that things are “going to be different” once the GOP takes control of the chamber.

Biden’s meeting with congressional leaders at the White House came as he looks to lock in more legislative wins before Democrats lose unified control of Washington on Jan. 3. In the meantime, the president is dependent on Congress to avoid a government shutdown on Dec. 16, and he wants major new funding to fight COVID-19 response and bolster U.S. support for Ukraine’s economy and defense against Russia’s invasion.

Most urgently, Biden has called on Congress to step in and impose a tentative agreement between railroads and workers to avert a potentially crippling freight rail strike next week.

Congress is months behind on passing funding legislation for the current fiscal year, relying on stopgap measures largely maintaining existing funding levels that federal agencies have warned leave them strapped for cash and don’t address new priorities.

“We’re going to work together, I hope, to fund the government,” Biden told the visiting lawmakers, emphasizing the importance of Ukraine and pandemic funding as well.

The president said the “economy’s at risk” because of the looming rail strike, and he said he is “confident” that Congress can act to avert it. “There’s a lot to do, including resolving the train strike,” he said.

Meeting in the Roosevelt Room, Biden sat at the head of the conference table, flanked by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the two smiling brightly at the start of the meeting.

But Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared more reserved.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House, McCarthy said Biden “got an indication that it’s going to be different” once Republicans take control of the House. He blasted the Biden administration’s immigration policies, and promised a new round of investigations once the GOP is in power.

McCarthy is working to become speaker in January, though he must first overcome dissent within the GOP conference to win a floor vote on Jan. 3.

McCarthy, who has hardly spoken with Biden during the president’s first two years in office, said, “I can work with anybody,” but that the Nov. 8 midterm elections show that “America likes a check and balance.”

Democrats Schumer and Pelosi described the meeting as “good” and “productive” as they left the White House. “There was good will in the room,” Schumer said, “trying to have a meeting of the minds.”

All the leaders said their preference was to pass a comprehensive spending bill for the fiscal year, rather than a continuing resolution that largely maintains existing funding levels.

“If we don’t have an option we may have to have a yearlong” stop-gap bill, Pelosi added.

McCarthy, who has promised to look more critically at the Biden administration’s requests for Ukraine aid, told reporters that, “I’m not for a blank check for anything.” He said he wasn’t necessarily opposed to more funding, but wanted to ensure “there’s accountability and audits.”

Congress is also taking up legislation to codify same-sex marriage, raise the debt limit and reform the Electoral Count Act in a bid to prevent another attempt like 2020 when then-President Donald Trump and allied lawmakers tried to overturn his loss in the presidential election won by Biden.

The Senate approved the marriage bill late Tuesday, sending it to the House before it goes to Biden’s desk.

“We’re going to find other areas of common ground, I hope,” Biden added, “because the American people want us to work together.”

As the meeting began, he quipped, “I’m sure this is going to go very quickly” to reach agreement on everything. Lawmakers spent a bit more than an hour with the president, joined by Vice President Kamala Harris and senior White House aides.

Republicans will hold a narrow majority in the House come January, while Democrats will retain control of the Senate. A runoff election in Georgia next week will determine whether Biden’s party will hold a 51-49 majority or Vice President Kamala Harris will be needed to break a 50-50 tie.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

18 hours ago

This undated image provided by Mikel Desmond shows his brother Marcus Tessier, who turned up in Dem...

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona.

19 hours ago

A newly released report on last year’s fatal crash involving a pickup truck and a group of bicycl...

Associated Press

Report suggests steering of vehicle that caused fatal Goodyear bicycle crash worked fine

A new report on last year’s fatal Goodyear bicycle crash has cast doubts about the driver’s claim the vehicle’s steering locked up.

2 days ago

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

4 days ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

4 days ago

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.


Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Biden tells GOP his hopes, gets stiff response from McCarthy