President Biden is cutting short an international trip and returning to the U.S. on Sunday in order to resume in-person debt talks with congressional lawmakers, a source familiar told The Hill.
The president will leave as planned for Hiroshima, Japan on Wednesday for the Group of Seven (G-7) summit, which runs until Sunday. He was supposed to visit Papua New Guinea and later attend the Quad Leaders’ Summit in Sydney on May 24, but has canceled that part of the trip.
The president spoke to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday to inform him that he would be “postponing” his visit to Australia and invited him for an official visit to the U.S., press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
She added that the president’s team “engaged” with the Papua New Guinea prime minister’s team to inform them of the canceled visit.
“Revitalizing and reinvigorating our alliances and advancing partnerships like the Quad remains a key priority for the President,” Jean-Pierre said. “This is vital to our ability to advance our foreign policy goals and better promote global stability and prosperity.”
NBC first reported that Biden would return on Sunday, citing that he wants to “ensure Congress takes action.”
The White House earlier on Tuesday left open the possibility of Biden cutting the trip short while debt talks remain at a standstill.
National Security spokesman John Kirby confirmed earlier on Tuesday that Biden will leave as planned for Japan but added, “We’re re-evaluating the rest of the trip now.”
“It’s difficult for me to tell you exactly what to anticipate at this point,” he said. “Given where we are right now, it’s also incredibly prudent and responsible for the president to take a look at the rest of the trip.” He added that the White House will “make a determination relatively soon.”
More coverage of the debt ceiling from The Hill:
- Five things to know about where negotiations stand
- McCarthy confirms work requirements are ‘red line’
- Jeffries calls work requirements a ‘nonstarter’
- GOP congresswoman calls for Biden to cancel Asia trip
- Yellen warns of catastrophic default: ‘Time is running out’
- GOP senators dismiss Trump’s calls for a default
- LAST WEEK: Takeaways from initial White House debt ceiling meeting
The news broke about Biden returning on Sunday and canceling the second portion of the trip as he was meeting with congressional leaders, including Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), after staffers huddled over the last few days to discuss possible solutions. Vice President Harris, who won’t be traveling to the G-7, was in the meeting on Tuesday after but wasn’t in the meeting last week.
The second meeting in the past eight days comes up against the June 1 deadline the Treasury Department determined would be the date the U.S. could default on trillions of dollars of debt, which could cause havoc on the financial system.
Kirby on Tuesday noted that he can only speak to Biden’s plans at the G-7 taking place this weekend and that the White House is “working through, thinking through” what the rest of the president’s trip could look like.
“If the trip gets truncated or changed or modified in any way it should be nothing more than a statement of the president putting his priorities where they need to be,” Kirby said.
“We wouldn’t even be having this discussion about the effect of the debt ceiling debate on the trip if Congress would do its job and raise the debt ceiling, the way it’s always done,” he added.
Kirby also said that foreign leaders in Papua New Guinea and part of the Quad Leaders’ group would “understand” that Biden has to focus on avoiding default.
Updated 4:52 p.m.