Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday (January 29), House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA.) reiterated that when he meets with President Joe Biden later this week about raising the debt limit, cutting Medicare and Social Security will be off the table.
However, McCarthy expressed that Republicans want to reach agreements on concrete spending reductions before they agree to increase the debt limit without clarifying what they would be willing to cut.
Instead, McCarthy revealed that everything that isn’t Social Security or Medicare has the potential to be cut, including defense spending.
Discussing defense spending being under the microscope, McCarthy noted that he wants “to make sure we’re protected in our defense spending” while emphasizing that ensuring it is “effective and efficient” was a priority.
He added that he would “look at every single dollar we are spending, no matter where it is being spent.”
McCarthy’s suggestion that defense spending may be cut has drawn criticism from some within his own party. Yet, to obtain the Speaker’s gavel, the California Republican had to agree to demands from holdouts in his caucus that he rolls back defense spending to 2022 levels.
Other conservatives believe cutting defense would be irresponsible.
But, defending his decision on Sunday, McCarthy said, “You’re gonna tell me inside defense there’s no waste?”
He added that Congress shouldn’t “just print more money. We should balance our budget.”
Despite the White House denying it would agree to spending cuts, McCarthy sounded more optimistic that President Joe Biden would agree, asserting that while the President’s “staff tries to say something different,” he believes Biden “is gonna be willing to make an agreement together.”