Biden to call McCarthy to discuss debt ceiling after G7 summit

The debt limit negotiations ended Friday night with no progress.

President Joe Biden asked his team to set up a call with Speaker Kevin McCarthy for Sunday morning to discuss the debt ceiling negotiations "following his meetings at the G7," a White House official said Saturday night.

The official didn't say what time exactly the call would take place or where Biden would call from as he could call from Hiroshima or even from Air Force One.

Biden "received an update from his team both last night and this morning on the status of negotiations," the White House official said.

There were no meetings scheduled Saturday between White House and GOP negotiators, McCarthy previously confirmed.

President Joe Biden answers questions on the U.S. debt limits ahead of a bilateral meeting with Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, Saturday, May 20, 2023.
Susan Walsh/AP

McCarthy told reporters on Saturday that negotiations are paused until Biden returns from his trip abroad as he left the Capitol this evening.

"Well, the White House didn't come here and unfortunately, the White House moved backwards," McCarthy said Saturday.

"I think the Bernie Sanders and the socialist wing of their party has had a real effect on the president, especially with him being out of the country. I don't think we're going to be able to move forward until the president can get back in the country," the speaker added.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to McCarthy and said McCarthy's team "put on the table an offer that was a big step back and contained a set of extreme partisan demands."

"Let's be clear: The President's team is ready to meet any time. And, let's be serious about what can pass in a bipartisan manner, get to the President's desk and reduce the deficit," Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

The latest proposal from the White House would have limited spending for military and some domestic programs, sources familiar told ABC News.

Republicans rejected it -- calling for an increase to defense spending which would in turn, force deeper domestic spending cuts to secure a possible deal, sources said.

The White House proposal would have held spending levels on education, housing aid and scientific research.

The debt limit negotiations between GOP negotiators and the White House ended Friday night with no progress after meeting for roughly an hour and a half.

"At the direction of the Speaker of the House, we re-engaged, had a very, very candid discussion, talking about where we are, talking about where things need to be, what's reasonable and acceptable," said Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana, who is the top negotiator for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Graves said "it's indefinite right now" when asked if talks were planned to resume Friday night or Saturday.

"We had a candid discussion," Graves added, saying "this was not a negotiation tonight. This was a candid discussion about realistic numbers, a realistic path forward and something that truly changes the trajectory of this country's spending and debt problem."

Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina said "no" when asked if he's confident negotiators can reach a framework by the end of this weekend.

Rep. Garret Graves at the Capitol in Washington, April 26, 2023.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP, FILE

Speaker McCarthy has said a deal needs to be reached by the end of the weekend in order for the House and the Senate to have enough time to pass it before the June 1 deadline.

There had been hope that progress would be made after a day of stalled negotiations when McCarthy said on Friday evening that negotiators would be "back in the room tonight" to continue working on a solution to the impending debt limit crisis.

McCarthy told Fox Business said that negotiators "took a pause" on Friday afternoon because of the "frustration" over the White House's negotiating position.

A key sticking point in the negotiations is spending caps, two sources familiar with the talks told ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott.

Despite the snag, a White House spokesperson insisted Friday a deal was still "possible."

"A responsible, bipartisan budget agreements remains possible if both sides negotiate in good faith and recognize that neither side will get everything it wants," the spokesperson said. "There are real differences between the parties on budget issues and talks will be difficult. The President's team is working hard towards a reasonable bipartisan solution that can pass the House and the Senate."

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy is joined by Republicans from the Senate and the House as he leads an event on the debt limit negotiations, at the Capitol in Washington, May 17, 2023.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The apparent breakdown comes after the White House late Thursday night touted "steady progress" following a phone call between President Biden, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young and counselor to the president Steve Ricchetti.

"The President's team informed him that steady progress is being made. The President directed his team to continue pressing forward for a bipartisan agreement and made clear the need to protect essential programs for hardworking Americans and the economic progress of the past two years as negotiations head into advanced stages," the White House tweeted.

"He remains confident that Congress will take necessary action to avoid default," the White House added.

McCarthy, too, seemed more optimistic Thursday than at any other point in the process as he said they were in a "much better" place than a week ago.

But on Friday, he said there had to be "movement over at the White House." He said he hadn't spoken to Biden, who is overseas meeting with G-7 leaders.

Timing remains critical as lawmakers stare down a fast-approaching deadline to lift or suspend the debt ceiling or risk a default. McCarthy said Thursday he believed a deal would need to made in principle by this weekend in order for a bill to clear the House and Senate before June 1.

ABC News' Ben Gittleson and Elizabeth Schulze contributed to this report.

Related Topics