White House, Senate GOP debt talks on the rocks after meeting

A Thursday deficit meeting between White House officials and GOP senators failed to yield progress toward a deal, sources said.

White House chief of staff Denis McDonoughDenis McDonoughThe Hill's 12:30 Report Benghazi Report and Hillary: What it means for Philadelphia White House bans Cabinet members from speaking at convention MORE, Budget Director Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mathews BurwellUS declares 'public health emergency' in Puerto Rico over Zika Administration shifts funds to boost Zika vaccine work Health chief warns Congress: Zika funds quickly running out MORE and deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors hosted the senators at the White House, Obama spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed.

The sides remain "far apart" on the scope of the problem and size of a solution, a Senate source said afterward. 

The White House did not reveal a list of the senators that attended the meeting.

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A White House official indicated after the meeting ended that the stumbling block remained the issue of raising taxes to cut the deficit.

"On matters related to the budget, the president has always been clear that closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy had to be part of any big deal. That’s been clear for several years," the official said.

No further meetings are scheduled at this time. 

The lack of a breakthrough only increases the chances for a dangerous debt-ceiling showdown between the House GOP and President Obama this fall. Treasury this week urged Congress to raise the debt ceiling before mid-October, when it said it would only have around $50 billion in funds. 

Obama had hoped that defense hawks in the Senate would be willing to cut a deal that replaces scheduled defense and social program cuts with a combination of entitlement changes and new revenue. 

But so far, he has been unable to reach such a deal with GOP senators despite a series of meetings. 


GOP senators who have been in talks over the last year with the White House include Sens. John McCainJohn McCainGeneral calls McCain's Bergdahl comments 'inappropriate' Clinton enjoying edge over Trump in Silicon Valley Five takeaways from Clinton, Trump finance reports MORE (Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamThe Trail 2016: Clinton’s ups and downs Graham: GOP being 'left behind' under Trump Thousands of Soros docs released by alleged Russian-backed hackers MORE (S.C.), Dan CoatsDan CoatsBayh's Indiana voting status is inactive: report Poll: Democrat Bayh up 7 points in Indiana Senate race Indiana Dem Bayh touts his 'independence' in Senate ad MORE (Ind.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonCruz, Lee question legality of Iran payment GOP senator: Obama 'hid' Iran payment from Congress GOP senators push Kerry on Iran payment MORE (Ga.), Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteAyotte: Trump not always honest, trustworthy NH senate candidate: 'I didn't give my best answer' on Clinton honesty Republicans slam 0M 'ransom' payment to Iran MORE (N.H.), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonGOP chairmen subpoena tech firms tied to Clinton's email server Watchdog: Pentagon needs to update FOIA policies Vulnerable GOP senator comes out against TPP MORE (Wis.), Bob CorkerBob CorkerBolton would consider serving as Trump's secretary of State Trump struggles to land punches on Dems over ISIS GOP senator: Trump calling Obama ISIS founder 'went far too far' MORE (Tenn.) and John HoevenJohn HoevenMajority of GOP senators to attend Trump convention Death threats against senators remained on Twitter for 2 weeks Senate panel approves funding boost for TSA MORE (N.D.).

The senators and McDonough also had a "useful" discussion on Syria at the meeting, the official said. 

"We appreciated the meeting, which continued the series of candid – and helpful – exchanges.  And it was particularly helpful to consult with the group about the situation in Syria,' the official said. 


-- This story was originally published at 2:29 pm and last updated at 4:27