Biden praises Kevin McCarthy on debt deal: 'Both sides kept their word.'

WASHINGTON − Democracy only functions through compromise, President Joe Biden said Friday as he praised House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for their joint agreement to suspend the debt limit and reduce deficits by $1.5 trillion over the decade.

“Both sides operated in good faith. Both sides kept their word,” Biden said in a 12-minute address from the Oval Office.

Speaking a day after Congress passed the debt limit deal, Biden said he would sign it into law Saturday − just two days before the nation could have run out of maneuvers to pay its bills.

No one got everything they wanted in the deal, Biden said, but "the American people got what they needed."

"We averted an economic crisis and an economic collapse," he said.

Although the deal avoids an unprecedented default, the rating agency Fitch said Friday it's maintaining its warning of a potential credit downgrade because "repeated political standoffs around the debt-limit...lowers confidence in governance on fiscal and debt matters."

The agency cited a “steady deterioration in governance over the last 15 years, with increased political polarization and partisanship.”

Biden, however, called the votes in the House and Senate "far more bipartisan than anyone thought was possible."

He said his team and McCarthy's "were straightforward with one another, completely honest with one another, respectful of one another."

The deal suspends the debt ceiling until January 2025, restricts spending for the next two years and makes various policy changes, including speeding up permitting for oil and gas projects and imposing new work requirements for older Americans receiving food assistance.

Those voting against it included conservative Republicans who said the spending cuts didn't go far enough. Liberals who opposed the bill criticized the spending caps and policy changes on work requirements and energy projects.

President Joe Biden addresses the nation on the debt limit deal from the Oval Office of the White House on June 2, 2023.

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