Obama, Hill Leaders Plan Sit-Down Over Spending

Posted April 4, 2011 at 12:37pm

With less than five days to go before a government shutdown, President Barack Obama is planning a face-to-face meeting with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other Congressional leaders to discuss options, aides confirmed Monday.

White House spokesman Jay Carney confirmed that Obama has invited Congressional leaders to a Tuesday meeting. “Earlier today invitations were extended to Speaker Boehner, Senate Majority Leader [Harry] Reid, [Senate Appropriations] Chairman Dan Inouye and [House Appropriations] Chairman Hal Rogers to a meeting tomorrow at the White House with the president to discuss ongoing negotiations on a funding bill to bring us through the end of this fiscal year,” Carney said at a press briefing Monday.

Boehner has skipped prior invitations to meet with Obama, but aides said he plans to accept this time.

“The Speaker hopes to meet with the President to discuss the need to keep the government open while making real cuts in spending and we’re working with the White House to schedule that meeting,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement.

Obama has stepped up his involvement in negotiations to fund the government for the next six months over the past several days. He spoke by telephone with Reid and Boehner over the weekend.

Appropriations staff have been working on writing a funding bill that would cut $33 billion for the rest of the fiscal year. However, both sides have said that the number is not a final deal. The current stopgap spending measure runs out at midnight Friday.