Biden Expresses Optimism Over Debt Limit Deal, but an Agreement Remains Elusive

President Biden and congressional leaders will resume face-to-face talks on Tuesday to avert a government default, with the White House expressing cautious optimism as the contours of a possible deal began to come into focus.

With time running out to strike a deal to raise the debt limit, broad areas of negotiation have emerged, including fixed caps on federal spending, reclaiming unspent funds designated for the Covid-19 emergency, stiffer work requirements for federal benefits and expedited permitting rules for energy projects.

“I remain optimistic because I’m a congenital optimist,” Mr. Biden told reporters on Sunday in Rehoboth Beach, Del. He added, “I really think there’s a desire on their part, as well as ours, to reach an agreement, and I think we’ll be able to do it.”

Still, on Monday, Speaker Kevin McCarthy said the two sides remained “far apart.”

The Treasury Department has warned that the United States could be unable to pay its bills by June 1 if it does not raise the debt limit, which caps how much money the country can borrow. That $31.4 trillion limit was hit on Jan. 19, and the Treasury Department has been using accounting maneuvers to keep paying America’s bills.

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