Debt ceiling meeting between Biden and congressional leaders postponed

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Washington — A meeting scheduled for Friday between President Biden and the top four congressional leaders to address the debt ceiling has been postponed as talks continue among staffers, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Thursday.

"All of the leaders decided it's probably in our best interest to let the staff meet again before we get back together," McCarthy said on Capitol Hill, confirming earlier reports about the postponement. McCarthy said the leaders decided together to delay a second meeting because there hadn't been enough progress for them to get back together yet after two days of talks among staffers.

"I have not seen from there, a seriousness of the White House, that they want a deal. It seems like they want a default more than they want a deal," McCarthy added.

One person familiar with the situation said postponing the meeting was "a good thing," since it means "the staff level meetings are going well."

The meeting will be rescheduled for sometime before Mr. Biden leaves for a trip to Japan next week. A White House spokesperson added that "all the principals" — including Mr. Biden, McCarthy, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — agreed to move the meeting.

The leaders met on Tuesday to discuss the rapidly approaching deadline to increase or suspend the debt ceiling or risk a default. Mr. Biden called the meeting "productive," while McCarthy said he didn't see any movement. Their staffers have continued to meet each day behind the scenes.

Earlier this week, the two sides still appeared far apart, with House Republicans continuing to insist on budget cuts in exchange for any debt ceiling increase, and Democrats holding out for a "clean" or stand-alone increase. McConnell said the U.S. will not default on its debt, but the GOP-controlled House and the White House remain at an impasse.

"Look over, these last few days and weeks, there's going to be — there's a lot of politics, posturing and gamesmanship, and it's going to continue for a while," Mr. Biden told reporters on Tuesday night. "But I am squarely focused on what matters, and we're getting to work."

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned the U.S. might not be able to pay its bills as soon as June 1 without a debt limit increase or suspension. She has warned that a default would be catastrophic to the American economy.

Kristen Brown, Weijia Jiang, Nancy Cordes and Nikole Killion contributed reporting.

Seinfeld | 60 Minutes Archives

Aaron Rodgers set for Jets debut as NFL releases 2023 schedule

Last-minute Mothers Day gift ideas