Biden declares himself 'blameless' if US defaults on debt: 'I've done my part'

Biden blamed 'MAGA Republicans' in Congress for derailing debt talks

President Biden would be blameless in the event that the U.S. defaults on its debt in the coming days, the president declared Sunday.

Biden made the claim during a news conference in Hiroshima, Japan, where he had traveled for meetings with G-7 nations. Republicans in Congress forced Biden to the negotiating table after months of the White House insisting there would be no debate over the issue. Biden now argues that certain "MAGA Republicans" are seeking to cause a default in an effort to crash the economy ahead of Biden's re-election effort.

"I've done my part," Biden said regarding negotiations, adding that "it's time for the other side to move their team positions because much of what they were proposed is simply quite frankly, unacceptable." This prompted a follow-up at the end of the news conference from Fox News' Peter Doocy.

placeholder"Mr. President, on the debt limit, you said already, 'I've done my part.' Do you think if there's a breach, nobody can blame you?" Doocy asked.


Joe Biden at G-7

President Joe Biden gestures during a news conference in Hiroshima, Japan, Sunday, May 21, 2023, following the G-7 Summit. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

"Of course no one will blame me, I know you won't, you'll be saying Biden did a wonderful job," Biden joked.

"Would you be blameless in a default situation?" Doocy pressed.

"On the merits, based on what I've offered, I would be blameless," Biden responded. "On the politics of it, no one would be blameless. And by the way, that's one of the, one of the things some [people] are contemplating. Well, I gotta be careful here. I think there are some MAGA Republicans in the House who know the damage that it would do to the economy and because I am president, and presidents are responsible for everything, Biden would take the blame. And that's the one way to make sure Biden's not reelected."


U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy succeeding in forcing President Biden to the negotiating table on raising the debt ceiling.   (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Biden also claimed that he had the authority to unilaterally increase the debt limit using the 14th Amendment, a legal argument experts say would be unlikely to hold up in court.

placeholderBiden acknowledged that the legal disagreement would render the move moot, however, saying the appeals process would kick a final decision well past the default date.

A GOP source confirmed to Fox News on Friday that a snag has been reached in the talks because "there is too much daylight between the sides.


U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) have had halting negotiations with the White House regarding raising the debt limit.

The source said there is a lack of movement between the sides over what Republicans want to cut on the "discretionary" side of the ledger, which is the part of spending Congress controls through the appropriations process each year.

"A responsible, bipartisan budget agreement remains possible if both sides negotiate in good faith and recognize that neither side will get everything it wants," a White House spokesperson told Fox News on Friday.

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