President Joe Biden said at the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, Saturday he still believes a debt ceiling default can be avoided despite a fruitless round of negotiations. Photo by G7 Hiroshima Summit/UPI | License Photo
May 20 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Saturday expressed optimism that a deal with Republicans on raising the debt ceiling can be achieved despite a looming default deadline and a day of fruitless negotiations.
His remarks at the Group of Seven Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, came with the less two weeks until the deadline to raise the debt ceiling and after Democratic and Republican representatives left a second round of negotiations Friday without an agreement.
If the June 1 deadline passes the U.S. will be unable to pay its debts, causing a debt default that could have disastrous economic consequences.
Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, and Senior White House advisor Steve Ricchetti represented the administration during the talks, which broke up late Friday without a resolution after a start-and-stop session during which Republican lawmakers at one point walked out.
Republicans have insisted on reduced spending as a condition to raise the debt ceiling. GOP-led legislation which would cut spending by 8% passed the House, though it doesn't itemize the cuts.
Democrats have advocated for keeping spending at current levels, arguing that major spending reductions would have a negative effect, causing cuts of up to 22% to crucial services like education and police.
The debt ceiling has also been a major headache for the Biden administration during the G7 meeting in Japan.
The president, however, took a more optimistic view of the talks when asked about the negotiations while speaking to reporters in Japan alongside Australian Prime Minster Anthony Albanese, saying he was "not at all worried" about the negotiations.
"It goes in stages," Biden said. "And what happens is the first meetings weren't all that progressive. The second ones were. The third one was. And that, what happens is they -- the carriers go back to the principals and say, 'This is what we're thinking about.' And then people put down new claims.
"I still believe we'll be able to avoid a default and we'll get something decent done," Biden concluded.
While Biden took a hopeful tone on negotiations, he also warned of "catastrophic" consequences if an agreement is not reached in a tweet issued late Friday.
"The consequences would be catastrophic for folks across the country and the globe. Default is not an option," the president wrote.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in Japan that Biden had "expressed confidence" to foreign allies at the summit that negotiations would be successful and emphasized that world leaders are following them closely.
"Here at the G7, you know, countries want to have a sense of how these negotiations are going to play out and the president expressed confidence that he believes that we could drive to an outcome that we do avoid default," Sullivan told reporters.