A final decision as to increasing the US debt ceiling still looks far off, but some progress has been made between the House of Representatives and the White House.
According to those present at the hour-long meeting held at the Oval Office on Tuesday, May 16th, attendees agreed to turn the currently multilateral discussions on the debt ceiling into direct one-on-one meetings between a close associate of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and two aides speaking for President Joe Biden.
McCarthy will be represented at these meetings by his close ally Louisiana congressman Garrett Graves, while the President will be represented by his close advisor Steve Richetti and Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
As the President is set to attend the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan from May 19 to 21, he is set to check in with key leaders in the House via phone during his absence, then meet up with them when he returns.
Following the Tuesday meeting, the President remarked that he and the relevant members of Congress all agree that defaulting on the country’s debt is not an option. However, Biden expressed his disappointment that Republican congressmen refused to discuss raising revenues during the meeting.
That said, White House officials announced that the delicate nature of the ongoing debt ceiling impasse has led to the cancellation of Biden’s upcoming trip overseas.
For his part, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) remarked that the meeting was productive and the atmosphere considerably more cordial than it was last week. Schumer added that having a bipartisan bill in both chambers of Congress is the best – and only – way by which the country could avoid a default.