Biden says U.S. can avoid default and raise debt ceiling at G-7 summit in Japan

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden says he's still confident a deal can be made with Republicans that will keep the U.S. from defaulting on its debt.

Biden, who is on an overseas trip, said he was "not at all" concerned about debt talks, which briefly stopped and restarted on Friday.

"I still believe we'll be able to avoid a default and we'll get something decent done," Biden said Saturday in Japan.

U.S. President Joe Biden, left, speaks with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, center, Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, second right, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during a a family photo session of leaders of the G7 and invited countries during the G7 Leaders' Summit in Hiroshima, western Japan, Saturday, May 20, 2023. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool Photo via AP) ORG XMIT: TKSJ126

Biden commented on debt ceiling talks during a bilateral meeting with Australian President Anthony Albanese while attending the Group of Seven Summit in Hiroshima. He will also meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who arrived at the summit on Saturday, before he leaves Japan.

The standoff with Republicans has captivated G-7 nations, several of which are major holders of U.S. debt. Japan and the United Kingdom are among the foreign nations that would be directly impacted by a default.

"The consequences would be catastrophic for folks across the country and the globe. Default is not an option," Biden said in a tweet on Saturday morning in Japan.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said during a briefing with reporters several hours later that "it is definitely a subject of interest here at the G7."

"Countries want to have a sense of how these negotiations are going to play out," Sullivan said.

The possible default is a source of "stress" for other nations, French ambassador to the U.S. Laurent Bili told USA TODAY during an interview Friday, because it would affect markets and global interest rates. "It's a concern for the whole world," Bili said.

Biden and his advisers say there's still time for negotiators to find bipartisan agreement before a potential default on June 1.

While there are "serious differences," between the two sides, the president's team has continued to work toward a "reasonable" solution that can pass both the House and the Senate, White House press secretary Karine-Jean Pierre told reporters during a briefing in Japan.

Debt Dispute: Debt ceiling negotiations between White House, Republicans hit a snag heading into weekend

Biden has been receiving regular updates from his negotiating team while he is abroad, including on Saturday morning in Japan before he met with the Australian prime minister.

The U.S. president apologized to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during the meeting for canceling a planned visit to Australia. Biden nixed the stop from his overseas trip so he could return to Washington sooner amid heated negotiations over the debt ceiling and federal spending.

Albanese told Biden he would have made the same decision under similar circumstances and looks forward to visiting the White House sometime this year.

"All politics is local," Albanese said. "You would always be a very welcome visitor in Australia, as you have been in the past." Biden told the leader, "And all politics may be local, but our friendship is permanent."

President Joe Biden, right, gestures to Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese following a document signing ceremony on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, Saturday, May 20, 2023.

Biden scraps Sydney: Biden cancels trip to Australia over debt ceiling talks, travels to G-7 Summit in Japan

G-7 steps up support for Ukraine

Continued support for Ukraine and countering China's influence in Asia and the Pacific have also been dominant topics at the summit that brings together the world's most powerful democracies.

The U.S. and its partners unveiled new sanctions on Russia that are meant to hinder the nation's ability to wage its war. Biden also agreed to help with a training program for Ukrainian pilots that may signal the alliance is closer to providing the country with the F-16 fighter jets Zelenskyy requested.

Zelenskyy met Saturday with Italy's prime minister and the two discussed the need to "improve our air defense capabilities, including flight training for our pilots," the Ukrainian leader said in a tweet. He met with the United Kingdom's prime minster later, the British said in a statement.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Debt ceiling: Biden says at G-7 summit U.S. can avoid default