HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) — US President Joe Biden said Sunday that Republicans in the House of Representatives must drop their “extreme positions” in the stalled negotiations on raising the US debt limit, adding that there will be no agreement to avoid a catastrophic default only on the terms set by the Republicans.
“It is time for Republicans to accept that there is no bipartisan deal to strike solely, solely on their partisan terms,” Biden said in Hiroshima, Japan, where he attended the Group of Seven summit.
Biden said that he has done his part to try to raise the debt ceiling so that the US government can continue to pay its bills. “Now is the time for the other side to move from its extreme position,” he said.
Biden was scheduled to speak later Sunday with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., likely as Biden was flying home on Air Force One after cutting his trip short due to difficult negotiations.
“I assume he wants to deal directly with me to make sure we’re all on the same page,” Biden said of McCarthy, adding that he still saw a compromise as possible.
Republican lawmakers have stuck to their demands for harsh budget cuts and rejected alternatives proposed by the White House to reduce the deficit.
The Republican Party wants to associate employment requirements with Medicaid, although the government has responded that millions of people would lose their health coverage. Republicans have also introduced further cuts to food aid by restricting the ability of states to remove job requirements in places with high unemployment, an idea already floated by the Trump administration and estimated to kill 700,000 people. they would lose their food subsidies.
In addition, the Republican legislators demand to reduce the financing of the Internal Revenue Service of the United States Department of the Treasury (IRS, for its acronym in English) and asked the White House to accept fragments of their immigration reform proposal.
The White House offered instead to hold defense and non-defense spending flat next year, which would save $90 billion in fiscal 2024 and $1 trillion over 10 years.
“I think we can reach an agreement,” Biden said.
Republicans also rejected White House proposals to increase revenue to further reduce the deficit. Among the options denied by Republicans were rules that would allow Medicare to pay less for prescription drugs and close a dozen loopholes in tax law. Republicans have refused to repeal tax breaks for corporations and wealthy households introduced in the Trump administration, as proposed in the Biden budget.
Biden avoided debt limit negotiations for months, insisting that Congress was trying to use the debt ceiling as a bargaining tool to gain ground on other legislative priorities.
But the US Treasury Department has said it could run out of cash as of June 1, and Republicans have put their own legislation on the table, so the White House has begun negotiations on a budget deal that could accompany an increase in the debt limit.