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Biden warns debt ceiling crisis could cost jobs and undo economic progress

The president and four top leaders from Congress are scheduled to meet next week to discuss the looming debt limit deadline.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden touted Friday's jobs report to make his case that the responsibility to lift the debt ceiling falls on Congress, using the presidential bully pulpit to insist he will only accept a bill with no strings attached and dismissing Republican’s demands for concessions.

“Next week I'm going to reiterate to congressional leaders that they should do what every other Congress has done, that is pass the debt limit, avoid default," Biden said before meeting with members of his Cabinet and other aides to discuss his economic agenda. "Let's have the normal arguments, that's why we have a budget process, to debate in the open and so you all can see it."

Biden also touted other positive economic indicators, but warned that congressional Republicans were "threatening to undo all this progress by letting us default."

“We got a lot more work to do, but we’re making real progress," he said.

The White House has argued that blame for the government defaulting on the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt will land on Republicans and that the push to negotiate over the ceiling in exchange for spending cuts amounts to “hostage-taking.”

A default would raise costs for businesses and families and increase the risk of a recession, White House spokesperson Michael Kikukawa told NBC News this week.

But there is growing concern that Biden may be left defending a shaky economy if a deal is not reached. Failing to raise the government’s borrowing limit could trigger panic on Wall Street and shake the public’s confidence in the economy, an outcome Democrats fear could prove politically disastrous for Biden as he heads into his re-election campaign. 

The standoff with House Republicans was jolted as Biden invited House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to the White House next Thursday to discuss the country’s fiscal policy alongside the other top Republican and Democratic congressional leaders.