The White House late Thursday said there has been “steady progress” in negotiations between the administration and lawmakers on talks over the debt ceiling and the budget, with President Biden phoning his team from Japan for an update.
Biden “requested and received an update” on talks while in Hiroshima for the Group of Seven (G-7) Summit, a White House official said.
“The president’s team informed him that steady progress is being made,” the official said. “The president directed his team to continue pressing forward for a bipartisan agreement and made clear the need to protect essential programs for hardworking Americans and the economic progress of the past two years as negotiations head into advanced stages.”
“He remains confident that Congress will take necessary action to avoid default,” they added.
The White House’s talk of “steady progress” came hours after Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters he could “see the path” to an agreement, though he acknowledged there was still work to be done.
Biden will be in Japan until Sunday, when he is scheduled to return to Washington, D.C. He scrapped plans to visit Australia and Papua New Guinea next week in order to be back for debt ceiling negotiations.
The Treasury Department has warned lawmakers must raise the debt ceiling, or the U.S. risks defaulting as early as June 1. A default could have major economic consequences, officials have warned, including increased borrowing rates, job losses and a stock market downturn.
Biden met Tuesday with McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Biden and McCarthy appointed officials from their respective camps to lead negotiations on hammering out a budget agreement while simultaneously pushing for an increase in the debt limit.
The White House’s side is being led by Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, White House aide Steve Richetti and legislative affairs director Louisa Terrell. McCarthy’s side is being led by Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.).