President Joe Biden told an Australian reporter to ‘shush-up’ after being interrupted answering questions at the G7 in Hiroshima about the stalled debt talks.
Biden was having a bilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese – after cancelling a planned trip to the nation due to the looming debt crisis.
The president told American reporters that he was ‘not at all’ worried about current state of the talks, which hit a hiccup overnight while he was sleeping.
‘It’s a negotiation. It goes in stages. And what happened in the first meetings weren’t all that progressive, the second ones were, third one was and then what happens is carriers go back to principles and say this is what we’re talking about,’ Biden explained. ‘And then people put down new claims.’
‘I still believe we can avoid a default and we’ll get something decent done,’ the president added.
President Joe Biden (right) told an Australian journalist to ‘shush-up’ after being interrupted engaging with the U.S. press about the stalled debt talks. He said in Hiroshima Saturday alongside Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese he was ‘not at all’ worried about default
As he was engaging with the U.S. press, an Australian reporter in the room was screaming through the Q&A, with Biden eventually telling him to stand down.
‘Shush-up, OK!’ the president hollered.
Earlier, White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt hammered Republicans after debt talks broke down overnight while Biden was sleeping.
In a statement, LaBolt said Republicans were ‘taking the economy hostage and pushing us to the brink of default’ and ‘recycling a barely watered down version of their extreme budget proposal.’
He added that Biden would ‘not accept a wishlist of extreme MAGA priorities,’ though stated there was still a path forward.
During his meeting with Albanese, Biden didn’t directly answer a question about whether he believed Republicans were negotiating in good faith.
Earlier Saturday, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed optimism that a debt deal could still be made.
‘So the president is confident that there is a path forward,’ she said from Japan around 10 a.m. local time, adding that Biden was ‘all over this’ and she expected him to be ‘updated momentarily by the team.’
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING: While President Joe Biden (left) has been in Hiroshima, Japan for the G7 summit, debt ceiling talks between the White House and Congressional Republicans stalled
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre held a press briefing from Hiroshima Saturday morning. She said there were ‘serious differences’ between the White House and GOP on the budget, but said President Joe Biden was ‘all over it’ and ‘confident’ a debt deal could get done
But she added that the White House and Republicans are still not seeing eye-to-eye.
‘So look, there’s no question we have serious differences. And this is going to continue to be a difficult conversation,’ Jean-Pierre said.
Back in Washington, Rep. Garret Graves followed White House negotiators out of a Friday meeting in the speaker’s office and told reporters they had pressed pause on negotiations because they were ‘not productive’ and the Biden administration was making ‘unreasonable requests.’
‘Yeah we got a pause,’ House Speaker Kevin McCarthy confirmed to reporters, only one day after he expressed hope there could be a deal on the floor by next week.
Biden left a G7 leaders dinner early Friday night, with Jean-Pierre saying that the ‘plan’ was for him to receive an update from his team back in Washington.
However, the initial hiccup occurred around 1:30 a.m. local time, when the president was snoozing away.
The negotiations briefly resumed for an hour and a half in Washington Friday night, but no progress was made.
‘The president’s team is going to continue to work hard toward a reasonable bipartisan solution that can pass the House and the Senate because we need Republicans and Democrats on this,’ Jean-Pierre said.
There is now less than two weeks before the Treasury could run out of funds to pay the nation’s bills, with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen putting the deadline at June 1.
The debt drama in Washington has cast a cloud over Biden’s appearance at the G7 in Hiroshima.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy confirmed Friday to reporters that the negotiators had hit a ‘pause.’ Talks restarted Friday night for an hour and a half but no additional progress was made
It already caused him to cut the trip short.
He was supposed to leave Hiroshima Monday and travel to Papua New Guinea and then onto Australia for a Quad meeting.
He’s now flying home late Sunday after reshuffling his schedule, including adding a Quad members meeting to it Saturday night.
‘It is definitely a subject of interest here at the G7,’ National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said at the Saturday morning briefing. ‘Countries want to have a sense of how these negotiations are going to play out.’
He added, however, that ‘this is not generating alarm.’
Sullivan said that Biden has ‘expressed confidence’ that the U.S. can avoid default.
‘And part of the reason he’s returning home tomorrow rather than continuing with the rest of the trip is so that he can help lead the effort to bring it home,’ Sullivan said.
An eventual deal will need to appeal to moderates in both parties, as both the Republicans’ right-flank and progressive Democrats have other plans.
The conservative House Freedom caucus is sticking with the House bill passed in late April that included widespread spending cuts.
That bill has no chance of passing the Senate.
Former President Donald Trump – who is running for president – issued his own warning to Republicans on Truth Social.
‘REPUBLICANS SHOULD NOT MAKE A DEAL ON THE DEBT CEILING UNLESS THEY GET EVERYTHING THEY WANT (Including the “kitchen sink”). THAT’S THE WAY THE DEMOCRATS HAVE ALWAYS DEALT WITH US. DO NOT FOLD!!!’
A number of progressive Democratic senators have pushed Biden to utilize the 14th Amendment to unilaterally lift the debt ceiling.
Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a letter Thursday saying, ‘We write to urgently request that you prepare to exercise your authority under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.’
The Amendment – which granted citizenship to former slaves and extended ‘equal protection under the law’ among other provisions – essentially states that the nation’s debts must be paid by the federal government in full.
Experts have interpreted that to mean Biden may have some authority to go above Congress and lift the debt borrowing cap – although there would be expected legal challenges if he bypassed the legislative branch in this manner.
Biden has pointed to the fact that it would go to court as a reason why he’d be hesitant to lift the debt ceiling using the 14th Amendment.
Yellen has also expressed wariness when asked about the idea.