Biden, US House speaker discuss government debt ceiling but no progress made

US President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy remain divided on whether to raise the federal government's debt limit to avoid the risk of going into default in about three weeks.

In the United States, debt ceiling legislation aimed at managing fiscal discipline limits the government's borrowing to certain levels.

Biden met McCarthy, a Republican, and other congressional leaders on Tuesday and called for cooperation in raising the borrowing limit.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen earlier warned that if Congress does not agree to raising the debt ceiling, the government could default as early as June 1. Its debt reached the ceiling in January.

The Treasury Department has since taken extraordinary measures to secure cash, but they are being exhausted.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting on Tuesday, McCarthy said the government must drastically cut spending if it wants to have the debt ceiling raised. He added that there was no progress in the talks.

Biden told reporters that raising the ceiling is "the single most important thing," hinting that he may not attend the Group of Seven summit scheduled for next week in Hiroshima, Japan, unless the issue is resolved.

Democrats and Republicans have often fought over the government debt issue. A prolonged fight could destabilize financial markets globally.