Biden, Congressional Leaders Have ‘Serious Differences’ Over Debt Limit, White House Says

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Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden and Congressional leaders have “serious differences” in negotiating over the debt limit, the White House said Friday.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to go into the details of the differences, but highlighted how Biden’s plan to cut “wasteful spending,” as included in his budget proposal, aims to cut down on subsidies for Big Oil and Big Pharma.

“If Republicans in Congress were serious about cutting the deficit, and about finding a bipartisan agreement … they’d be looking at cutting that type of unnecessary spending,” Jean-Pierre continued. “This is going to continue to be a difficult conversation.”

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has insisted a raise to the debt limit must be tied to spending cuts, including possibly implementing new work requirements for those who receive money from safety net programs.

Biden remains “optimistic” an agreement can be reached before an unprecedented default predicted to come June 1, Jean-Pierre added.

The president — currently in Japan for the G7 summit — has received updates from his staff and is expected to return to the White House on Sunday to continue negotiations in person. The administration canceled Biden’s additional stops to Australia and Papua New Guinea amid the looming deadline to reach an agreement. (RELATED: Biden, Congressional Leaders Change ‘Scope’ Of Who Is Negotiating Over Debt Ceiling)

He has met twice with McCarthy, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Congressional and White House staff have been leading the talks since Tuesday.

Republican Louisiana Rep. Garret Graves, who was appointed by McCarthy to lead talks from his side, told Fox Business the negotiations between Republicans and the White House stalled on Friday.

“We’ve decided to press pause because it’s just not productive,” Graves said. “Until people are willing to have reasonable conversations about how you can actually move forward and do the right thing, then we’re not gonna sit here and talk to ourselves.”