WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he is confident congressional leaders can reach an agreement to increase the nation’s debt limit before time runs out on a potential default.

“I am confident that we will get a deal on the budget,” Biden said at the White House, calling the talks “civic and respectful.” He added: «They all came in good faith.»

«We are going to get together because there is no alternative,» he added. «All the leaders in the room understand the consequences of failure.»

Biden insisted he was not negotiating to raise the debt ceiling, saying the talks were about spending.

Asked if he would accept works requirements for some federal aid programs, a potential sticking point in the negotiations, Biden kept the door open but said he would not accept «much beyond» the Clinton-era policies he supported. as senator.

Biden spoke moments before leaving for Japan, where he will meet with world leaders. He has cut his trip short to return to the US to continue debt negotiations, but said he would hold a news conference on the latest in the talks on Sunday.

Republicans are pushing for tougher rules around federal aid programs, such as tougher work requirements, a potential hurdle in the countdown to avoiding a default.

Biden has opened the door for some concessions, but has said he will not consider cuts that could push people into poverty. The president appeared to harden his position Tuesday night after staff negotiators met on Capitol Hill. Democrats have rejected the Republican requests as impossible.

“The policies that House Republicans are proposing would eliminate health care for Americans and increase poverty,” White House spokesman Michael Kikukawa said in a statement. «The Republicans couldn’t sign them into law when they had unified control of the government, and the president is fighting to make sure they’re not in a bipartisan budget deal.»

Negotiations have grown more urgent as Biden heads to meet with G7 allies, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reiterated that the US could hit the debt ceiling as soon as June 1.

After meeting with congressional leaders on Tuesday, Biden said he would cut the trip short to return to the negotiating table in Washington. Biden said there was an «overwhelming consensus» among the group that a debt default was not an option.

Biden and the Democratic-controlled Senate insist that a bill to raise the debt ceiling should be dealt with separately from next year’s budget. Meanwhile, the Republican-led House of Representatives has called for the budget to return to fiscal year 2022 levels and stood firm on the need for work requirements for federal aid programs.