What to Know in Washington: Biden Shortens Travel for Debt Talks

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Debt ceiling talks between White House and congressional aides are set to intensify as negotiators seek a framework agreement for President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to review upon the president’s return from a truncated trip to Asia.

The latest round of talks — launched before Biden’s departure today for a G-7 meeting in Hiroshima, Japan — will feature a narrower group of negotiators in hopes of yielding a deal to avert an unprecedented US default.

Source: Bloomberg

Biden said he would call lawmakers and staff to remain apprised of the negotiations during his time abroad, and hopes to gather with congressional leaders once he is back in the country next week.

The president intended to visit Australia and Papua New Guinea, but scrapped those stops in hopes of brokering an agreement.

Read More: Biden Drops Australia, Papua New Guinea Visit for Debt Talks

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who Biden called Tuesday to cancel his visit, said the American president expressed frustration with Republican lawmakers.

“He’s very disappointed at some of the actions” of lawmakers in the US House and Senate, ” Albanese told an Australian radio station.

Biden and lawmakers struck a cautiously optimistic tone following a meeting Tuesday, saying that while the two sides remained far apart, they were hopeful the new negotiating teams could find bipartisan middle ground.

The hope on competing ends of Pennsylvania Avenue is that the two sides can avoid calamity by delegating responsibility to a smaller group — many of whom are known as negotiators able to strike deals. Senior White House adviser Steve Ricchetti, legislative affairs director Louisa Terrell and budget director Shalanda Young will represent Democrats in staff-level negotiations, while Representative Garret Graves of Louisiana as well as aides to the speaker will join from the Republican side.

“There was an overwhelming consensus, I think, among the congressional leaders that defaulting on the debt is simply not an option,” Biden said in remarks following the meeting. But the president cautioned, “there’s still work to do.”

McCarthy has agitated for narrower talks in recent days, and said Tuesday a deal could come together quickly.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” McCarthy told reporters. “It is possible to get a deal by the end of the week. It’s not that difficult to get to an agreement.” Josh Wingrove and Jennifer Jacobs have more on what’s to come.


  • House votes by 5 p.m. on bills to deport immigrants for police assault and resell retired federal handguns.
  • Senators meet at 10 a.m. to consider judicial nominations and a resolution to block a Biden administration measure redefining “public charge” policy for immigrants.


  • At 9:30 a.m., Biden honors 2021-2022 Medal of Valor recipients at the White House.
  • The president departs the White House at 11:25 a.m. en route to Hiroshima, Japan by way of Joint Base Andrews and Anchorage, Alaska.

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To contact the reporters on this story: Michaela Ross in Washington at mross@bgov.com; Andrew Small at asmall@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com

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