President Joe Biden on Sunday called on congressional Republicans to work toward a deal to raise the U.S. borrowing limit and criticized the latest proposals by GOP negotiators as “extreme,” because those talks have stalled to avoid a historic default next month.
“Most of what they’re proposing is simply, frankly, unacceptable,” Biden said at a news conference in Hiroshima, Japan, where he was attending the Group of 7 summit.
“It’s time for Republicans to accept that there is no bipartisan deal to be made, only on their partisan terms,” Biden added. “They have to act too.”
The US President has asked to speak with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy once his meetings with Japan are over, in hopes of helping put the negotiations – which have been largely stalled since Friday – back on track.
On Saturday afternoon, McCarthy said negotiators could not resume talks with the administration until Biden returned to Washington.
“Unfortunately, the White House has moved backwards,” the California Republican said. “I don’t think we can proceed until the President comes back.”
Biden has been traveling abroad to attend the Group of 7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, since leaving Washington on Wednesday. Biden is scheduled to fly back to DC on Sunday, a shortened version of his trip that originally stopped in Australia and Papua New Guinea before Biden cut the final legs amid debt ceiling talks.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned the US that it could default on its debts on June 1.
Biden asked his team to coordinate with the speaker to arrange the conversation Sunday morning Eastern Time, which would be the first conversation between the two men since debt talks appeared to have stalled between disputes over spending limits.
Biden received an update from his team on the status of negotiations Saturday night and Sunday morning in Japan, a White House official told the press pool traveling with Biden.
“President Biden continues to closely monitor negotiations on a bipartisan budget framework and the urgent need for Congress to act to avoid default,” the official said.
Republicans are seeking spending cuts in the federal budget in exchange for their support to raise the nation’s borrowing limit. The Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota confirmed Saturday that the White House made an offer this morning seeking to limit future spending at current levels, which Johnson called “absurd.”
Johnson, a McCarthy ally and chair of the centrist Main Street Caucus, was one of several key players announced by Republican negotiators in the talks.
“Negotiations are not going well right now,” Johnson said. “The paper given by the White House is a major step backwards. And it undermines all the progress that was made on Wednesday and Thursday. … It jeopardizes the negotiations.”
Johnson warned, “We are really in danger of defaulting.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre released a statement Saturday night railing against the latest debt ceiling proposal from Republican negotiators, calling it a “big step back” as he repeatedly rejected “severe partisan demands.”
“Last night in DC, the Speaker’s team put on the table an offer that is a huge step back and contains a set of extremely partisan demands that will never pass both Houses of Congress,” said Jean-Pierre.
This story and headline has been updated with additional developments.