(Washington) Joe Biden on Friday accused Republicans of holding the US economy “hostage”, by conditioning their vote on raising the debt ceiling on “draconian” budget cuts.

The U.S. president said he would demand again next Tuesday, at a meeting with Republican leaders in Congress, that they do “what [previous] legislatures have always done: raise the debt, and avoid default” of the country.

He pointed out again that this famous “ceiling”, which limits the total amount of public indebtedness, had been raised three times during the administration of Donald Trump.

Joe Biden, relying on strong jobs numbers released on Friday, blames the opposition for wanting to “undo all this progress by letting us default” on debt.

While the Republican opposition — with a majority in the House of Representatives and a blocking minority in the Senate — wants to tie a debt deal to spending cuts, the US president said “both things weren’t right.” not related”.

“We are ready for a debate” on budget issues and spending, said the 80-year-old Democrat, who refuses to negotiate on the debt.

Long a formality, this vote is this time the occasion of a standoff, whose main protagonist, in addition to Joe Biden, is the Republican boss of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy.

The federal government actually hit that famous $31 trillion ceiling in mid-January, but has so far managed it through bookkeeping maneuvers.

However, the US Treasury has warned that, without a vote from Congress, the government could be forced from June 1 to make drastic cuts in certain social spending.

Before possibly falling into a situation of sovereign default, completely unprecedented, which would see America unable to honor certain financial deadlines, with unpredictable but potentially dramatic consequences on employment and growth.