One awkward photo sums up how the debt ceiling negotiations are going
Joe Biden met with congressional leaders to discuss solutions to raising the debt ceiling on Tuesday.
The lawmakers emerged with little progress two weeks ahead of a possible default.
One stunningly awkward photo captured the displeasure in the room.
Awkward stances and uncomfortable dispositions were on full display in the Oval Office on this week as President Joe Biden and other high-ranking politicians returned to debt ceiling talks and emerged with little tangible progress.
Biden on Tuesday met with Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for the second time to attempt to find a solution to raise the debt ceiling. And with a potential default as soon as two weeks away, the lawmakers emerged with still little movement on a deal.
In one stunningly tense photograph, the faces of four of the most powerful people in politics summed up just how difficult the negotiation process appears to be going (Jeffries and McConnell were in attendance, as well, but are not in the photo).
McCarthy seemed stony-faced during discussions
"Lot of work to do in a short amount of time," McCarthy told reporters following the meeting. "It's unfortunate that we are where we are."
McCarthy did, however, note that he thinks "it is possible to get a deal by the end of the week," and Schumer told reporters that it was a "good and productive meeting. Everyone agreed default would be the worst outcome."
Sen. Chuck Schumer offered a slightly more positive spin
"We also agreed we have to pass a bipartisan bill with bipartisan support in both chambers," Schumer said.
Biden, meanwhile, appeared positively flummoxed
A White House readout on the Tuesday debt ceiling talks offered little concrete evidence as to how close the administration is to reaching a deal.
"The President emphasized that while more work remains on a range of difficult issues, he's optimistic that there is a path to a responsible, bipartisan budget agreement if both sides negotiate in good faith and recognize that neither side will get everything it wants," the statement said.
Kamala Harris looked like she wanted to be anywhere other than the Oval Office
As Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned McCarthy on Monday, the US is still on track to run out of money to pay its bills as soon as early June, meaning Congress needs to act fast to find a solution that would avoid an unprecedented and economically catastrophic default. And with the short timeframe, some Democrats are still urging Biden against compromising with the GOP on their party's priorities.
The White House can "expect pushback on nearly any significant concession. This is not an appropriate vehicle ... I don't think we should normalize such destructive tactics," New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told Axios.
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