Biden says he won’t agree to bipartisan debt deal solely on Republicans’ terms

By Trevor Hunnicutt and Jeff Mason

HIROSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday said he was willing to cut spending but would not agree to a deal with Republicans in Congress on raising the U.S. federal debt limit and cutting the budget solely on their terms.

Speaking at a news conference in Hiroshima in Japan, Biden said he would speak with Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on his way home about the negotiations, but underscored that a U.S. default would have “serious” consequences and was not an option.

“It’s time for Republicans to accept that there is no bipartisan deal to be made solely on their partisan terms. They have to move as well,” Biden said.

The Democratic president said he believed he had the authority to invoke the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to raise the debt ceiling without Congress, but it was uncertain such action could be taken in time to prevent a default.

Biden, traveling in Japan for the Group of Seven (G7) summit, sought the call with McCarthy after his negotiating team briefed him on the status of talks that broke up on Friday with no signs of progress, according to a White House official.

There are less than two weeks before June 1, when the Treasury Department has warned that the federal government could be unable to pay all its debts. That would trigger a default that could cause chaos in financial markets and spike interest rates.

Biden said he still believed he could reach a deal with Republicans, but could not guarantee that Republicans would not force a default by “doing something outrageous.”

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Jeff Mason, writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Hugh Lawson, William Maclean)

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