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President Joe Biden will shorten his upcoming overseas trip amid the debt limit fight, the White House announced on May 16.
Biden is scheduled to depart for Hiroshima, Japan, on May 17 for the annual G7 summit and return to the United States on May 21.
The G7 includes the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Germany, and France.
“President Biden will return to the United States on Sunday, following the completion of the G7 summit, in order to be back for meetings with Congressional leaders to ensure that Congress takes action by the deadline to avert default.
“The president spoke to Prime Minister [Anthony] Albanese earlier today to inform him that he will be postponing his trip to Australia,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a statement.
Following the G7 summit, Biden was scheduled to stop in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and then Australia. No sitting U.S. president has visited Papua New Guinea, where Biden was to talk with Pacific island heads.
In Australia, the president was scheduled to gather with fellow heads of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, colloquially known as the Quad, that, in addition to the United States, includes Australia, Japan and India.
Jean-Pierre noted that Biden invited Albanese to visit the White House and that his team informed the team of Papua New Guinea’s prime minister, James Marape, that he would not be able to make the trip.
In her statement, Jean-Pierre said that Biden’s cancellations do not deter from his commitment to the Indo-Pacific.
“Revitalizing and reinvigorating our alliances and advancing partnerships like the Quad remains a key priority for the president,” she said. “This is vital to our ability to advance our foreign policy goals and better promote global stability and prosperity.
“We look forward to finding other ways to engage with Australia, the Quad, Papua New Guinea, and the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum in the coming year.”
Jean-Pierre’s announcement comes as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that the United States could default on June 1 if it does not raise the debt ceiling.
A meeting at the White House between Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was held on May 16, the second one in two weeks, to negotiate on the debt ceiling. (Harris was absent from the May 9 meeting).
McCarthy said the GOP and Democrats remain far apart on an agreement.