President Joe Biden issued a terse, three-sentence statement late Monday evening following the conclusion of his talks with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on how to raise the debt ceiling, which failed to yield a final agreement but which both sides said was “productive.”
“I just concluded a productive meeting with Speaker McCarthy about the need to prevent default and avoid a catastrophe for our economy. We reiterated once again that default is off the table and the only way to move forward is in good faith toward a bipartisan agreement,” Biden said in a statement.
“While there are areas of disagreement, the Speaker and I, and his lead negotiators Chairman McHenry and Congressman Graves, and our staffs will continue to discuss the path forward,” he added.
The White House released Biden’s statement after McCarthy briefed reporters at the White House and in a separate briefing at the Capitol minutes later.
McCarthy also told reporters that the Monday evening meeting was “productive” even though there was no “progress” yet. He said staff would continue to meet and he expected to be in touch with Biden every day – there are just 10 days left before the government is expected to have to borrow more money in order to pay its current obligations.
Negotiators for both McCarthy, R-Calif., and Biden have been meeting for more than a week, and met again for about two and a half hours on Sunday night, just two days after Republicans called for a “pause” in the talks because no progress was being made.
One of McCarthy’s top allies, House Financial Services Chair Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., told reporters outside the speaker’s office on Monday that talks had been productive but said there were still obstacles to overcome.
Democrats have insisted on raising the debt limit without preconditions. But Republicans are lining up behind the House-passed Limit, Save, Grow Act, which would increase the federal borrowing limit by $1.5 trillion while also slashing spending by roughly $150 billion from this year to the next.
Both sides have agreed that action is needed to reduce the deficit, but each has different ideas about how to do it – Republicans are looking to cut spending from today’s levels, while Democrats have called to increase tax revenue from the ultra-wealthy and large corporations.
Fox News Digital’s Liz Elkind contributed to this story.