Both sides are blaming each other for the impasse as a debt limit deadline approaches

The U.S. Capitol is seen on Saturday, May 20, 2023, in Washington. President Joe Biden's administration is reaching for a deal with Republicans led by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as the nation faces a deadline as soon as June 1 to raise the country's borrowing limit, now at $31 trillion, to keep paying the nation's bills. Republicans are demanding steep spending cuts the Democrats oppose.
The U.S. Capitol is seen on Saturday, May 20, 2023, in Washington. President Joe Biden's administration is reaching for a deal with Republicans led by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as the nation faces a deadline as soon as June 1 to raise the country's borrowing limit, now at $31 trillion, to keep paying the nation's bills. Republicans are demanding steep spending cuts the Democrats oppose.
Jose Luis Magana/AP

Negotiations over a bipartisan deal to increase the United States' debt limit appear to have faltered to the point that the Biden administration and House Republicans are focusing their public efforts on blaming the other side for the impasse, rather than working toward a final agreement.

President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are set to speak on the phone as Biden flies back to Washington from the G-7 summit in Japan.

Speaking after the G-7 concluded, Biden repeated his accusations that Republicans were to blame for the deadlock. "It's time for the other side to move off extreme positions because much of what they've already proposed is simply, quite frankly, unacceptable" he said.

Biden said that he was willing to cut spending, but said Republicans needed to consider raising tax revenues. House Republicans are largely opposed to any tax increase – a major tool Biden has relied on in his proposed budgets to lower the deficit.

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McCarthy has characterized the White House in "moving backward" in talks. Biden said he expected to speak to McCarthy on Air Force One. "My guess is he's gonna want to deal directly with me in making sure we're all on the same page," Biden said.

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.
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

Biden says questions about the 14th amendment are 'unresolved'

Asked about invoking the Constitution's 14th amendment to avoid default — an untested tool that the progressive wing of his party has urged — Biden said he was unsure whether legal challenges to such a move could be resolved in time to avert default. "That's a question that I think is unresolved," he said.

Biden's top staffers are increasingly framing House Republicans as more interested in catering to the right wing of their caucus than reaching a consensus on how to lower the deficit and increase the debt ceiling.

"Last night in DC, the Speaker's team put on the table an offer that was a big step back and contained a set of extreme partisan demands that could never pass both Houses of Congress," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement issued early Sunday morning from Hiroshima.

According to a source familiar with negotiations, the White House's most recent offer to House Republicans included a vow to keep defense and nondefense spending in next year's budget at the same levels as the previous fiscal years. But Republicans have insisted on cuts to nondefense spending.

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