Obama, Boehner clear schedules to focus on debt-ceiling crisis

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) have cleared their schedules of fundraisers in order to focus on the debt talks. 

Vice President Biden was scheduled to appear at a Democratic fundraiser Monday, but Obama canceled his scheduled appearances. 

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Biden isn’t taking Obama’s place at the Democratic National Committee fundraiser, according to a campaign official. The vice president’s appearance was scheduled separately from the president’s.

Both the president and vice president have been active participants in negotiations to raise the nation’s debt limit, with both attending numerous meetings with congressional leadership at the White House over the past couple of weeks.

Boehner on Monday “cleared his schedule” of politicking to concentrate on the debt talks, according to Corey Fritz, Boehner’s political spokesman. Like Obama, he decided not to attend any fundraisers on Monday amid intensifying battles over how to reach a deal to cut spending in exchange for a House vote to raise the debt ceiling.

As the Aug. 2 deadline by which lawmakers must raise the debt limit approaches, lawmakers might suffer from poor optics if they appear to be spending time raising campaign cash that could otherwise be devoted to negotiations. 

It’s not clear whether the president will continue to pull out of fundraisers. Boehner’s team is evaluating his schedule on a daily basis.

“The Speaker will continue to evaluate his schedule on a day-to-day basis until a solution is at hand,” Fritz said. 

Spokesmen for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not respond to emails seeking comment.