Official: Obama And Boehner Met For Deficit Talks Over The Weekend
Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met over the weekend as part of ongoing negotiations on an agreement to reduce the country's deficit, a Republican official told CNN late Tuesday.
Also Obama said Tuesday he invited Democratic and Republican leaders from both chambers of Congress to the White House for a meeting Thursday to discuss deficit reduction and the need to raise the federal debt ceiling.
Obama said he wanted the meeting to "build on the work that's already been done and drive toward a final agreement" that would address expanding federal deficits and bring congressional approval for increasing how much money the government can borrow.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who earlier invited Obama to come to Congress to discuss the issue, will attend the White House meeting, his office announced. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also plans to attend.
Boehner indicated that he will take part but warned that Congress will not accept tax increases sought by Obama and Democrats.
"I'm happy to discuss these issues at the White House, but such discussions will be fruitless until the president recognizes economic and legislative reality," Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement. He added, "I'm pleased the president stated today that we need to address the big, long-term challenges facing our country."
According to Obama, who made an unscheduled appearance in the White House briefing room, talks on deficit reduction over the Fourth of July weekend with congressional leaders from both parties made progress, but "we still have to work through some real differences."
Both parties need to come out of their "comfort zone," Obama said. But "this should not come down to the last second."
White House spokesman Jay Carney later said Obama believes that everyone knows the issues involved in forging a comprehensive agreement to reduce federal deficits by as much as $4 trillion in the coming decade.
Now it is time make hard decisions, with both sides compromising in order to reach an agreement that benefits the nation as a whole, Carney said.
"The ideal will never become law, whether you're a conservative House Republican or a liberal Democrat or the president of the United States," Carney said. "You're never going to get everything you want, because our system doesn't work like that."
The Senate returned to work Tuesday, cutting short the planned weeklong Fourth of July recess, with its leaders resuming their tough talk on negotiations to cut federal deficits amid a looming deadline to raise the government's debt ceiling.
The three-day Fourth of July weekend did little to change the rhetoric of recent weeks over deficit reduction talks and the need for Congress to increase the amount of money the government can borrow.
In his opening remarks after the Senate reconvened, Reid, D-Nevada, accused Republicans of putting the nation's economic recovery at risk by threatening to oppose an increase in how much money the government can borrow. McConnell, R-Kentucky, followed Reid by accusing Democrats of wanting to increase spending to solve a deficit problem. >>>CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
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