Facing a looming deadline to avoid the fiscal cliff, President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met Thursday for their first face-to-face talk in four days.
Boehner arrived for the previously unscheduled meeting just after 5 p.m. ET, a few hours after claiming Obama had failed to offer a serious compromise to prevent the fiscal cliff’s automatic tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect in less than three weeks. He spent about 50 minutes in the White House before returning to his office.
A White House official and Boehner’s spokesman then issued near identical statements, calling the Oval Office meeting “frank” and saying the “lines of communication remain open.”
The meeting didn’t spur Boehner to change his plans to return to Ohio on Friday, one of the speaker’s aides said. The House is scheduled to end its current session that day, but Majority Leader Eric Cantor has told lawmakers they could be working longer than that with the fiscal cliff still in limbo.
The inability to reach a deal, thus far, reflects Democrats and Republicans’ underlying divisions about the size of government and how much the wealthiest Americans should pay in taxes.
Do you think Congress will come to agreement on the fiscal cliff issue before year’s end?