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Tipsheet

Biden to Cut Foreign Trip Short After White House Said He Could Handle Debt Ceiling From Afar

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Biden won't get to rack up as many Air Force One miles as he may have hoped or planned for this week after the White House said that his official trip to Japan to participate in a G7 meeting was being cut short. For Biden, that means no stopover in Australia or Papua New Guinea on his way back to the U.S.

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Perhaps if President Biden had answered House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's (R-CA) calls to negotiate a deal to increase the debt ceiling — calls that Biden ignored for more than two months earlier this spring — he wouldn't have to rush back to the U.S. to supposedly work toward avoiding default that he didn't show any action toward avoiding when he could have. 

The decision to cut Biden's travel short also came, inconveniently to the White House's narrative, just an hour after the National Security Council's John Kirby said such a development wasn't happening and certainly was not necessary. 

Kirby insisted that Biden could "do both things" — traveling to the other side of the world while also avoiding a default on the country's debt — a reality that only grows more likely as a result of Biden's bumbling handling of the situation. 

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When asked about calls from congressional Republicans for Biden to skip his whirlwind trip around the South Pacific, Kirby rebuffed the GOP criticism and insisted Biden wasn't altering his travel plans, just "reevaluating" them. Code for: Caving again to Republicans but not wanting to look like it. 

"There's not been a cancelation as yet," Kirby insisted while trying to give himself room for what inevitably happened. 

If Biden's so capable to negotiate a deal to avert a default on our country's debt, as Kirby insisted, why hasn't a deal been reached yet? And if traveling around the world doesn't mean Biden can't also address domestic and other issues, why is his trip now being cut short? Clearly, Kirby's assertion was an attempt to project phony confidence that didn't pass muster. 

With little more than two weeks remaining until the initial deadline on which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the U.S. could reach the point of defaulting on the debt — June 1 — it's absurd that Biden was ever thinking he'd be able to lollygag around in Asia after refusing to negotiate with House Republicans, then fail to make any progress in a few short meetings due to his untenable negotiating position. 

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On Tuesday afternoon, Speaker McCarthy reminded Biden and Americans again that his party had passed — weeks ago now — a bill that would raise the debt ceiling, meet the White House's demand to avoid default, and cap discretionary spending at FY2022 levels set and praised by Biden and Democrats just months ago. 

Yet again, the optics and reality are against Biden and Democrats — McCarthy and Republicans are ready to negotiate and find a deal, and Biden is preparing to leave the White House, Washington, America, and the Western Hemisphere apparently unaware that he's going to bear the blame for a default if he botches this situation too. 

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