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White House says Biden still ‘expecting to go’ to G-7 meeting as debt talks drag on

The White House on Friday said President Biden still expects to travel to Japan for the Group of Seven leaders meeting next week as debt-ceiling negotiations drag on at home.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not guarantee his presence in Hiroshima for the G-7 summit from May 19 to May 21 but said in-person participation remains the preferred option.

“He’s expecting to go,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said.

Ms. Jean-Pierre declined to say whether Mr. Biden planned to address America’s use of a nuclear weapon in the Japanese city in 1945. Foreign leaders have signaled that the topic may come up.

Instead, Ms. Jean-Pierre said Mr. Biden and G-7 leaders plan to discuss a range of global issues, including support for Ukraine, food and climate crises, and ways to pivot to clean energy.

She reaffirmed Mr. Biden‘s travel plans two days after the president said he might be forced to join virtually, given fears that Capitol Hill cannot land a debt deal before U.S. borrowing authority runs out June 1 after hitting the $31.4 trillion debt limit.

“Depending on the state of play in the negotiations, it’s possible I would either have to delay my trip — not delay — not go and do it virtually,” Mr. Biden told reporters while traveling in New York on Wednesday.

Mr. Biden and congressional leaders scrapped a planning meeting for Friday as staff members try to find a way forward to avert a default and possible economic downturn.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says his GOP caucus will not accept a debt ceiling increase that doesn’t cut spending and begin to reel in the runaway debt.

The White House says lifting the debt ceiling is routine and shouldn’t be used for leverage to extract spending cuts. Mr. Biden is highlighting the potentially devastating consequences of default while engaging in some talks with GOP leaders, causing confusion about whether he is willing to negotiate or not.

“There’s no deal to be had on the debt ceiling. There is no negotiation to be had on the debt ceiling,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said. “This is something that Congress needs to do, this is something that they need to act on. This is something that is their constitutional duty. The president has been very clear about that.”

Later Friday, the White House said first lady Jill Biden plans to join Mr. Biden in Japan for the G-7 weekend.

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁