The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) is calling out the Biden administration for stalling press briefings ahead of Memorial Day weekend as the country’s default deadline looms.
As President Biden and lawmakers are set to leave town amid tense negotiations, WHCA President and NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith revealed the organization’s own talks with the White House about holding briefings on Friday and over the weekend were unsuccessful.
“The WHCA board pushed hard for the White House to hold a briefing on Friday or potentially over the weekend given intense interest in the high stakes debt ceiling negotiations and the risk that the US economy could go over a cliff,” Keith wrote in a statement to Fox News. “The White House was not persuaded by our argument that the public deserves to see them answer questions. Monday is a federal holiday, which means there could be four days in the midst of a political crisis, without a briefing.”
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Olivia Dalton forcibly pushed back in a statement to Fox News Digital.
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“The briefing is one mechanism through which we share information with the press but not the only one. The team is constantly available – 7 days a week – to answer questions from the press about developments in the news,” Dalton told Fox News Digital. “The President publicly addressed the debt limit in a press conference on Sunday, in the Oval Office on Tuesday, and again yesterday. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen addressed the situation last Sunday on Meet the Press and White House officials have done interviews throughout the week. Karine has answered 105 questions in four on-camera press briefings this week, including a Saturday briefing for traveling reporters in Japan. We’re proud to have restored that tradition after the last administration ended briefings entirely. And the White House has issued a steady stream of statements, releases, and memos on the budget agreement and need to avoid default.”
The Treasury Department offered a bit more negotiation breathing room, reassessing the default deadline from June 1 to June 5, a week from Monday.
“Based on the most recent available data, we now estimate that Treasury will have insufficient resources to satisfy the government’s obligations if Congress has not raised or suspended the debt limit by June 5,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote in a letter on Friday to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
Biden and McCarthy are still at odds over a debt ceiling agreement as Republicans aim to cut spending, but panic remains with the potential that default could lead to economic turmoil.
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The president will be spending the holiday weekend at Camp David and in Delaware though negotiations are said to be ongoing.
“The president can deal with this issue anywhere he is,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, defending Biden’s vacation plans on Thursday.
A new Fox News poll showed a whopping 83% of voters believing the current state of the economy is in only fair or poor shape, which is up from 69% when Biden first took office.
When voters were asked whether Biden’s policies are helping or hurting their families, nearly half said hurting while just 20% said they were helping.
The poll also showed Biden having a 42% approval rating, but how voters view his handling of the economy is even worse. Just a third of voters approve while a stunning 65% disapprove.
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How Americans view Biden’s handling of the economy will likely be a big factor as he seeks reelection in 2024.
According to the RealClearPolitcs average of polls, former President Trump holds a 1.4-point advantage over Biden in a hypothetical rematch.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.