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 McDonoughBenghazi Report and Hillary: What it means for Philadelphia White House bans Cabinet members from speaking at convention Overnight Defense: Benghazi report fallout | Nearly 50 dead after Istanbul attack MORE, Budget Director Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mathews BurwellReid: McConnell 'stringing us along' on Zika Lawsuits mount against FDA regs on e-cigarettes HHS launches contest to make bills simpler 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 McCainMcCain granddaughter comes out in support of Clinton With reservations, moving toward Hillary Clinton FULL SPEECH: Hillary Clinton closes out Democratic convention MORE (Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamTrump: 'I hope' Russia is able to get Clinton's emails Syria activists cheer Kaine pick Vulnerable GOP senators praise Kaine MORE (S.C.), Dan CoatsDan CoatsMcAuliffe: I wouldn't want a 'caretaker' in Kaine's Senate seat Indiana GOP taps lieutenant governor to replace Pence GOP rallies to Trump's 'law and order' message after Baton Rouge MORE (Ind.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense Clinton set to break ceiling GOP senators to donors: Stick with us regardless of Trump MORE (Ga.), Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense Clinton brings in the heavy hitters Kasich doesn't regret skipping convention MORE (N.H.), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonSanders could be secret weapon for Dems The Trail 2016: The newrevolution begins Greens launch M ad buy in Wis. Senate race MORE (Wis.), Bob CorkerBob CorkerTrump starts considering Cabinet Trump's secret weapon is Ivanka Senate Dems introduce Iran sanctions extension 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