HIROSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) – Democratic negotiators told President Joe Biden on Friday that they are making “steady progress” in talks with the Republican aimed at avoiding a US default, according to a White House official.
Officials said Biden received an update on Friday morning on talks with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Republican advisers in Japan, where he is traveling for the Group of Seven (G7) summit.
“The Speaker’s team told him that there is steady progress,” said an official on condition of anonymity.
“The president asked his team to continue to push for a bipartisan agreement and made clear the need to protect essential programs for American workers and the economic progress of the past two years as negotiations move forward,” he said.
“He is confident that Congress will take the necessary measures to avoid default,” he added.
Republicans have refused to vote on raising the debt ceiling above $31.3 trillion unless Biden and his fellow Democrats agree to cut spending in the federal budget.
The US government could default on some debt as early as June 1 unless Congress votes to raise the debt ceiling, and economists fear the country could slide into recession.
Biden cut short his Asia trip and now plans to return to the United States on Sunday to wrap up talks, ending stops in Papua New Guinea and Australia to counter China’s influence in the region. Are.
Meanwhile, White House adviser Steve Ricchetti, budget director Shalanda Young and legislative adviser Louisa Terrell are leading the talks for the government.
A similar showdown in 2011 over the debt ceiling led to a historic downgrade of the United States’ credit rating, triggering a stock selloff and raising the government’s borrowing costs.
The current doldrums have unnerved investors, pushing the cost of insuring the risk on US government bonds to an all-time high.
Three-quarters of Americans fear a default would severely affect families like theirs, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll on Monday.