Biden: Debt Ceiling Talks Are on ‘Budget,’ Not Default

The president said negotiations with House Republicans have been "productive."

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

President Joe Biden said Thursday that debt limit negotiations with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) have been "productive" and that hang-up for a deal has been around what the budget will look like.

“It is time for Congress to act now,” Biden said during remarks in the Rose Garden. “The negotiations we’re having with Speaker McCarthy are about the outlines of what the budget will look like. It’s not about default.”

Negotiators for both parties have been chipping away all week to come up with an agreement to avoid a government default. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who has previously indicated the government could default as early as June 1, said Wednesday at a WSJ CEO Council event that the government would not have enough money to pay its bills past early June and would give Congress an updated deadline soon.

Biden said Thursday that negotiators had put forward a proposal to freeze spending for two years. But McCarthy has repeatedly said that spending must be cut in whatever deal is made.

“The only way to move forward is with a bipartisan agreement. I believe we’ll come to an agreement,” Biden said. “Allows us to move forward and protects the hardworking Americans in this country.”

McCarthy said earlier Thursday that debt limit negotiations “made progress” overnight.

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