UpdateUS President Joe Biden announced on Friday evening that he will sign a bill to raise the US debt ceiling on Saturday. He said so at 7pm local time (1am Saturday morning Dutch time) in his first speech from the Oval Office in the White House since taking office two years ago.
Majorities in the US House of Representatives and Senate approved the debt deal last week. “A crisis was averted,” Biden said in his speech. Without Congressional approval, the United States would run out of money, causing massive chaos in financial markets.
If the deal hadn’t happened, the US economy would have entered recession and eight million Americans would have lost their jobs, the president said. “It’s very important to come to an agreement. We’ve avoided an economic collapse,” he said. He continued: “Nobody got everything they wanted, but the American people got what they needed.”
‘Compromises and Consensus’
According to Biden, the deal would reduce the government debt while reducing government spending.
“The only way American democracy works is compromise and consensus,” Biden said. In his speech, he also discussed the cooperation between Republicans and Democrats that helped seal the deal. “Both sides acted in good faith. Both sides kept their word,” Biden said. He praised Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, among others. “Our teams got along well and got things done. We were completely honest and respectful with each other.
“There is no peace without unity, only bitterness and anger,” the president said. “We can never become that country. I can honestly tell you that I have never been more optimistic about the future of America. We have to remember who we are. We are the United States of America. There is nothing we can’t do,” he said.
Typically, US presidents reserve a speech from the Oval Office for the most important and dramatic events, such as the September 11, 2001 attacks or the 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.
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