The devout Roman Catholic president, Biden, was reportedly forced to postpone his trip to visit Pope Francis to continue crisis talks over the faltering spending bill.
Biden, who keeps a picture of the pope behind his desk in the Oval Office, was due to fly to Rome early Thursday, in preparation for his first meeting with the pope since taking office in January.
But he was forced to delay his flight by several hours to continue his difficult conversations at the Capitol.
As The Post previously reported, Biden will meet House Democrats Thursday morning in an effort to break the convention deadlock and secure a vote on the infrastructure bill passed by the Senate.
He is then scheduled to deliver remarks from the White House East Room at 11:30 a.m.
Only after 12:30 p.m. – hours later than initially scheduled – will he depart on his journey to the Vatican, where he is scheduled to meet the Pope on Friday.
Amid growing anger over Biden’s handling of the economy, the president has made no secret of his desire to reach agreement on a massive social spending bill before he leaves for Europe.
“It would be a very positive thing to do that before the flight,” Biden said Monday.
But as talks continue, administration officials have begun to downplay the importance of Biden’s spending plan, which is still swirling in limbo rather than being shut down.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki stressed that the president can still operate phones from Rome, suggesting Wednesday that foreign leaders can see beyond backroom conversations with lawmakers back home.
Biden, the country’s second Catholic president, is still expected to meet Francis at the Vatican on Friday.
“They’re just going to have a chance to think, each of them, their own view of what’s going on in the world, the policy issues,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday.
Biden will also visit the Italian hosts of the G20 summit before meeting French President Emmanuel Macron, in an attempt to bridge the row that arose when the United States and the United Kingdom agreed to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, to replace it. French contract in the process.
Biden is also expected to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, where he is expected to touch on the Iranian nuclear threat, and Iran’s announcement that it may return to talks next month in Vienna.