Democratic leaders in the Senate met with President Obama Wednesday afternoon to discuss their push to extend the employee payroll tax cut.

According to a congressional aide, Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidConservative Senate candidate calls on GOP to end filibuster Ex-Reid aide: McConnell's 'original sin' was casting ObamaCare as 'partisan, socialist takeover' GOP faces growing demographic nightmare in West MORE (Nev.), Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenators who have felt McCain's wrath talk of their respect for him Graham and Kushner met to discuss immigration differences: report Trump's FBI nominee passes committee, heads to full Senate MORE (Ill.), Chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee Charles SchumerCharles SchumerOPINION | How Democrats stole the nation's lower federal courts OPINION | Hey Dems, Russia won't define 2018, so why not fix your party's problems instead? Lawmakers send McCain well wishes after cancer diagnosis MORE (N.Y.) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatty MurrayLawmakers send McCain well wishes after cancer diagnosis Trump labor board nominees advance in Senate Dems tout failure of GOP healthcare bill MORE (Wash.) attended the meeting at the White House.

The group met at 2:45 p.m. and broke up at 3:30. The senators left the White House without taking questions from reporters.

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The leaders were expected to discuss how to move a payroll tax cut extension and a $1 trillion omnibus spending bill by the end of the year. 

The meeting comes as Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill are engaged in a back-and-forth over what legislation to pass when.

The current resolution funding the government expires on Friday, and Congress has yet to act on a spending measure. The payroll tax holiday is scheduled to expire Dec. 31.

House Republicans passed an extension of the payroll tax on Tuesday but Democrats have objected to a provision that would move up the requirement for a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. Obama had put off that decision until after the election and has said he will veto the GOP package because of that.

Reid suggested a possible route to compromise Tuesday when he said he would be willing to extend the payroll tax holiday without paying for its $120 billion cost. The cost of the extension would rise to $180 billion if the tax break were expanded.

Earlier on Wednesday House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerSudan sanctions spur intense lobbying OPINION | GOP's 7-year ObamaCare blood oath ends in failure A simple fix to encourage bipartisanship in the House MORE (R-Ohio) called on legislators in the Senate to pass the House measure.

Reid tried to bring it up in the Senate — knowing it was likely to fail — but was blocked by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellParliamentarian deals setback to GOP repeal bill OPINION | How Democrats stole the nation's lower federal courts Flight restrictions signal possible August vacation for Trump MORE (Ky.), who cited concerns about a possible government shutdown.

McConnell said Congress should first take up an omnibus spending bill to fund the government.


— Alexander Bolton contributed

This story was updated at 4:50 p.m.