Biden, Republicans in standoff over debt ceiling

US President Joe Biden is working against a deadline as he tries to figure out how to pay the nation's bills. He knows that, by the end of the month, his government could run out of money.

Biden met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other congressional leaders at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the limit on what the government can borrow. The debt has risen above 31 trillion dollars.

However, Republicans say they will not agree to raise what is known as the debt ceiling unless Biden agrees to spending cuts. McCarthy and other Republicans want to slash social programs such as food stamps that help feed more than 40 million people. He said he needs to see some concessions.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said a US default would generate an "economic and financial catastrophe" in which more than 8 million people would lose their jobs. She added that a recession would spread beyond the US and lead to "worldwide panic."

Biden is setting off on Wednesday to join his counterparts in Hiroshima at a summit of the Group of Seven countries. However, he is cancelling visits to Australia and Papua New Guinea to focus on the debt talks.