President Joe Biden left the White House Friday ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, despite facing criticism from fellow Democrats concerning his hands–off role in debt–ceiling negotiations.
Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn, Biden said he was “very optimistic” that a deal would be reached.
“I hope we’ll have some clear evidence tonight before the clock strikes 12 that we have a deal, but it’s very close,” he said. “And I’m optimistic.”
Biden then went on to fly to Camp David in Maryland and to his home state of Delaware, where he is scheduled to return this Sunday. This came as House Democrats expressed their frustration at his detachment from the talks, with one Democrat exclaiming to Politico, “You’re going to see a caucus that’s so pissed if he’s stupid enough to do that.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen then announced on Friday that there would be a four-day delay in the debt–ceiling talks and that the government would not run out of money until June 5th. This has taken some of the pressure off the talks, though it still requires House and Senate approval for any proposed deal to go through.
Prior to leaving town, Biden held two events to celebrate the winning teams of the March Madness men’s and women’s basketball competitions. During the women’s LSU event, freshman forward Sa’Myah Smith collapsed while Biden gave his speech, after which the White House press office released a statement criticizing House Republicans for pushing a “cruel and senseless” work requirement for food stamps.
The president plans to visit Arlington National Cemetery on Monday to honor the nation’s war dead before traveling back to Delaware.
Former President Obama and Former First Lady Michelle Obama were also seen leaving a residence in Washington D.C. Saturday evening, though it is currently unclear where they were headed.
Former President of the United States Barack Obama and Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama departed a residence on Rockwood Parkway in Washington, DC, Saturday evening, May 27, 2023 at 10:42 PM Eastern Time. Former POTUS Barack Obama did not take any questions. pic.twitter.com/ut1MAuzIYu
— Kyle Mazza (@KyleMazzaWUNF) May 28, 2023
Given the lack of an immediate agreement, it remains to be seen what progress Congress will be able to make on the debt–ceiling talks before the June 5th date. It is likely that the negotiations will continue to be closely monitored going forward, with pressure mounting on Biden to remain involved.