Biden Says He’s ‘Absolutely Certain’ US Will Not Default

Biden Says He's 'Absolutely Certain' US Will Not Default

President Joe Biden and congressional leaders confronted each other on the debt limit impasse Tuesday, ending their meeting with no breakthrough but agreeing to meet again this week to try to avert the looming risk of an unprecedented government default.

Speaking at the White House, Biden described the talks as “productive” even though House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said after the high-stakes Oval Office meeting that he “didn’t see any new movement” toward resolving the stalemate.

House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries said lawmakers and their staffs were to continue discussions as soon as Tuesday evening on the annual federal budget at Biden’s encouragement. Biden and the congressional leaders are to meet again on Friday.

After the hour-long discussion in the Oval Office, Biden said he was “absolutely certain” that the country could avert a default, declaring that failure to meet America’s obligations “is not an option.”

“I told congressional leaders that I’m prepared to begin a separate discussion about my budget, spending priorities, but not under the threat of default,” Biden said.

Biden described the meeting’s tone as “very measured and low key,” adding, “occasionally there would be a little bit of an assertion that maybe was a little over the top from the speaker.” Still, he added, “I trust Kevin will try to do what he says.”

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