Kevin McCarthy, Joe Biden to meet on debt limit as speaker says entitlements are ‘off the table’

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden will meet Wednesday to discuss lifting the nation’s $31.5 trillion debt ceiling to avoid default in June.

Mr. McCarthy vowed Sunday that cuts to entitlements like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are completely “off the table” but emphasized that he wants to evaluate “every single dollar we’re spending no matter where it’s being spent,” including the military.

The meeting between the two men will come as Democrats, including the White House, have rebuffed House Republicans’ demands to negotiate for spending cuts amid staggering national debt that’s accrued under presidents of both parties stemming back decades.

“We’re not going to default. But let me be very honest with you right now,” Mr. McCarthy said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “[Default] won’t come to fruition until sometime in June. So the responsible thing to do is sit down like two adults and start having that discussion.”

With costly entitlement programs out of the equation, that leaves the Pentagon’s budget as the next most expensive item that some Republicans have suggested has waste to root out.

“I want to make sure we’re protected in our defense spending, but I want to make sure it’s effective and efficient,” Mr. McCarthy said. “I want to look at every single dollar we’re spending, no matter where it’s being spent. I want to eliminate waste wherever it is.”

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Democrats and the White House have accused Republicans of playing political brinkmanship with the nation’s debt that it has already incurred by tying it to future spending.

But with the GOP in control of the House, it appears Mr. Biden is ready to begin talks.

“Unfortunately, the White House was saying before, they wouldn’t even talk. I’m thankful that we’re meeting on Wednesday, but that’s exactly what we should be doing,” Mr. McCarthy said. “We should be coming to a responsible solution. Every family does this. What has happened with the debt limit is you reached your credit card limit. Should we just continue to raise the limit? Or should we look at what we’re spending?”