President Joe Biden and top US congressional Republican Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday underscored their determination to reach a deal soon to raise the federal government’s $31.4-trillion debt ceiling and avoid an economically catastrophic default.
After a months-long standoff, the Democratic president and the speaker of the House of Representatives on Tuesday agreed to negotiate directly on a deal. An agreement needs to be reached and passed by both chambers of Congress before the federal government runs out of money to pay its bills, as soon as June 1.
“We’re going to come together because there’s no alternative,” Biden told reporters at the White House, saying he would cut short his trip to Asia and return to Washington on Sunday, but staff-level discussions would continue in Washington.
Asked by reporters at the Capitol whether it’s possible to reach a debt ceiling deal by the time Biden returns from Asia on Sunday, McCarthy replied, “It’s doable.” “We’re on such a short timeline,” McCarthy said.