WASHINGTON DC – President Joe Biden said Wednesday before leaving for Japan for the G7 summit that his meeting with Republican leaders to avoid an unprecedented national default was “productive.”
“The United States is not an irresponsible country, I am confident that we will reach an agreement and we will not default,” the president said. “We all agree on this, we have paid our bills, our country has never defaulted and will never default.”
Biden said a deal would be made because “there is no other option” for the country. The president promised an update on the matter by Sunday.
On Tuesday, Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy named top envoys to negotiate a deal to avoid a default.
Biden cut short upcoming foreign travel in hopes of completing a deal before the June 1 deadline.
The new group of negotiators means discussions have narrowed enough now that the White House and McCarthy will agree to allow lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling in the coming days. The congressman said after a meeting with Biden and congressional leaders that a deal was “possible” by the weekend, even as the two sides remained isolated for some time, in McCarthy’s view.
Biden was publicly optimistic after a nearly hour-long meeting in the Oval Office, despite canceling the Australia and Papua New Guinea portions of his overseas trip starting Wednesday. Biden will attend the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima, Japan, but then return to Washington DC on Sunday.
“There’s still work to be done,” Biden said. “But I have made it clear to Congressman (McCarthy) and others that we will talk regularly over the next few days and staff will continue to meet daily to make sure we don’t default.”
Senior White House official, as well as top adviser to four leaders in Congress: McCarthy, R-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., Minority Leader in Senate Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. and House Minority Leader Hakim. Jefferies, D.N.Y. – Have been meeting every day.
But now, Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, and Legislative Affairs Director Louisa Terrell will lead negotiations on the Democratic side, while Rep. Garrett Graves, the Republican for Los Angeles, is a prominent McCarthy member. The aide, who has been a key figure for the speaker on debt and budget issues, will represent the Republican.
“Now we have a format, a structure,” said McCarthy, returning to the Capitol.
The deadline for default expires on June 1.
Negotiators are racing to beat a June 1 deadline, when the Treasury Department has said the US could start defaulting on its debts for the first time in history and risk financial catastrophe. The revised itinerary for Biden’s upcoming visit reflected the urgency of the talks.
White House officials tried to downplay the impact of the trip cancellation. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby noted that Biden has already met with some leaders of the “Quad”, the purpose of the Australian leg of the trip, while in Japan, and the president is inviting Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to a meeting. . Official State Visit to Washington.
Still, Kirby said: “We wouldn’t even be having this discussion about the effect of the debt ceiling debate on travel if Congress did its job, raising the debt ceiling as it always has.”