St. Patrick's Day puts debt rancor aside for Biden and McCarthy

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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy joked on St. Patrick's Day that there’s a brewing clash between him and President Joe Biden: Who’s more Irish?

“Because for America, we know the stakes are high. That a clash is brewing, people say, between the president and I of what should we do? What would be the ramifications for the entire nation in the coming months? I think you might be able to settle this for us. Which one of us is more Irish?” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Friday at the annual St. Patrick's Day luncheon at the Capitol.

McCarthy and Biden were joined by lawmakers and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar Friday at a “Friends of Ireland Caucus St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon” where the two spoke of their Irish ancestry and finding common ground.

"From one Irish American to another, I want to strive every day to live up to the example of President Reagan and Tip O'Neill," McCarthy said, addressing the president.

Biden said he agreed with McCarthy that there’s no reason why “we can’t find common ground,” and he hopes that “we can turn this breakfast into more of an everyday relationship.”

“There's no reason why we can't hope to change this direction of extremism of both our parties,” Biden said, adding that it’s about the “power of friendship.”

Biden and McCarthy’s relationship this year has been marked by finding a path forward on raising the debt ceiling. In Biden’s State of the Union speech last month, he scolded Republicans about their past interest in cutting the nation’s biggest entitlement programs. Biden later met with McCarthy in search of a path to lifting the nation’s debt ceiling.