The President Joe Biden and congressional leaders met Tuesday to discuss the debt ceiling. A possible default is still weeks away.
Kevin McCarthy, House Speaker, said that during the meeting Biden and leaders “changed the scope” in terms of who was negotiating.
The president has changed the scope in which the negotiations are conducted. We should appoint someone from the team of the president to work with the team of the speaker to see if an agreement can be reached. The House Speaker said that this was the decision made during the meeting.
The structure of our negotiations has changed. It gives you an opportunity to do it, even though there are only a few short days left. We would have already had a bill passed if we did this 97 days ago,” he said.
The White House reported that Biden was “optimistic about reaching an agreement” and had “directed staff to continue daily meetings on outstanding issues.”
The White House said, “He stated that he wanted to speak with world leaders by phone later this week and then meet them when he returned from abroad.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that the government could default on its debts as early as June 1. McCarthy and Biden are unable to reach an agreement, as the California Republican wants to combine the increase with spending cuts.
The conservation on Tuesday included Vice President Kamala Harris, Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Chuck Schumer, along with Biden and McCarthy.
Biden and the Congressional Leaders met on May 9, and further debt ceiling discussions had been scheduled for this Friday but were postponed.
Due to Biden’s trip to Japan on Wednesday for the G7 Summit, the timeline for discussions is even shorter. John Kirby, White House National Security Council spokesman, said that the administration is “reevaluating’ additional pre-planned trips to Australia and Papua New Guinea in light of debt ceiling talks.
The president said that defaulting is “not an alternative.”
McCarthy was less optimistic before the meeting on Tuesday, stating that the failure to reach an agreement over the debt ceiling concerns him.
According to The Associated Press, he told Monday reporters that he saw no progress in the staff-level discussions held over the weekend. “And I am really concerned about the timeline.”