Biden Cuts Asia Trip Short To Negotiate Debt Ceiling

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden / Getty Images
May 16, 2023

With the threat of the United States' first-ever default rapidly approaching, President Joe Biden will return from his trip to Asia earlier than planned to negotiate the debt ceiling.

"President Biden has decided to return to the United States on Sunday, immediately following the completion of the [Group of Seven summit], to ensure Congress takes action by the deadline to avert default," a source familiar with the matter told NBC News.

So far, Biden and congressional Democrats have been unwilling to negotiate raising the debt ceiling with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), who is asking that raising the ceiling come with federal spending cuts. If they do not reach an agreement soon, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned, the country could default as soon as June 1, which would be catastrophic for the U.S. economy. As of Tuesday morning, Biden was set to leave Wednesday for an eight day trip to Asia, returning just before Memorial Day weekend and the June deadline. He will now return after the G7 summit on Sunday.

Biden had plans to meet with leaders in Australia and Papua New Guinea to discuss China's threat and climate initiatives, NBC News reported:

The White House had emphasized how Biden's attendance at a summit of the Group of Seven major industrial countries in Japan this week would shore up optimism that the U.S. is able to resolve its differences at home. The president had next planned to travel to Australia for a "Quad" meeting on May 24, with China's provocative actions in the region expected to be front and center in meetings with the leaders of Australia, India, and Japan. …

Biden will also skip a visit to Papua New Guinea, where he had planned to stop on his way to Sydney to discuss regional security and economic and climate support.