Psaki on debt ceiling talks: China probably ‘rooting for default’
Alex Gangitano – May 19, 2023
Former Biden White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that China is probably “rooting for default” while talks in Washington over a debt ceiling compromise have been cut short.
“All of these world leaders and their teams are watching what’s happening in the United States. Is democracy going to last? Are they going to default? All of that makes the United States look weak on the world stage,” Psaki said on MSNBC.
“If you’re China, you’re probably — you’re rooting for default,” she added.
President Biden has also warned it could be a concern internationally if the U.S. were to default on its debt, arguing recently that world leaders have been wondering about the looming risk.
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said earlier this month Beijing and Moscow would use a potential default for propaganda purposes through “information operations” as evidence the U.S. political system is chaotic.
Psaki outlined the situation with the president in Japan for the Group of Seven (G-7) summit, relying on Republican negotiators and White House officials to keep working to avoid a default until he returns to Washington on Sunday.
“So for the president, this is about — he’s there to project strength; the United States is back at the table,” she said. “But these negotiations, this being tricky and unresolved at home, is not great. And that’s important for people, Republicans, Democrats to really understand.”
She also warned against being overly concerned by the top Republican lawmakers negotiating a debt ceiling compromise with the White House cutting the talks short. The Republicans left a meeting with White House officials Friday in the Capitol, saying the two sides were too far apart and that the White House is being unreasonable.
“Sometimes, there are pauses where it looks like everything is going to explode and not come back together, and it does,” she said.
The White House had expressed optimism as recently as late Thursday, saying there had been “steady progress” in debt limit talks, and officials said Friday the president’s team is “working hard towards a reasonable bipartisan solution.”
Additionally, Psaki said there “will be no doubt legal challenges if the president were to invoke the 14th Amendment” in response to a letter sent earlier this week from 11 senators to Biden suggesting he prepare to invoke the amendment.
The president said last week there have been discussions about whether the 14th Amendment can be invoked, but he acknowledged it would have to go to the courts.