Obama 'likely' to meet with congressional leaders this week

President Obama is “likely” to meet with congressional leaders this week about funding the government, the White House said Monday.

“I think it’s likely that the president will meet with leaders,” Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One. “I don't have a time for that or a day for that. But here’s the bottom line: Congress needs to act responsibly in order to ensure that the government does not shut down.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Aides on Capitol Hill have said since last week that the White House was attempting to schedule a meeting with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

But the window for a potential meeting is tightening.

The president is in New York City on Monday and Tuesday for events surrounding the U.N. General Assembly. On Thursday, he'll travel to Maryland for an event touting his signature healthcare law. On Friday, Obama is hosting the prime minister of India at the White House.

If lawmakers are unable to strike a deal before the end of the month, the federal government will shut down for all nonessential services.

On Friday, the president called Boehner, though it appeared that little headway was made toward a budget deal. Obama used the call to reiterate to Boehner that he will not negotiate over an increase in the nation's debt ceiling, a separate deadline that could be hit by mid-October.

Even if lawmakers are able to get into the same room, neither side seems optimistic about the chances of finding common ground.

“How could talks happen when the 1 demand of the GOP is something they know cannot pass? GOP extremism/absurdity is unprecedented,” Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer tweeted on Monday.

Last week, Boehner aide Brendan Buck accused Obama of a similarly unreasonable stance.

“The Speaker will attend, of course, but, given that the president has said he won’t discuss the debt limit with Congress, we’re not sure why it’s even taking place,” Buck said.