Obama meeting with Hill leaders now unlikely

An expected meeting between President Obama and congressional leaders on the federal budget is not likely to happen in the next week, according to an aide to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

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Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Boehner, said Tuesday that he did not expect a meeting between the president and congressional leadership "in the next week." If lawmakers are unable to strike a deal on a continuing resolution to keep the government funded before Oct. 1, the federal government will shut down for all nonessential services.

On Monday, the White House described a meeting with Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as "likely."

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“I think it’s likely that the president will meet with leaders,” White House press secretary Jay 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.”

The window for a potential meeting is already tight. The president is in New York City through 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.

So is the window for passing a budget deal. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has vowed to do everything he can to prevent Senate Democrats from stripping out a provision of a House-passed continuing resolution that would defund the president's signature health care law.

His procedural hurdles could leave leaders in the House less than 48 hours to respond to a so-called "clean" continuing resolution coming from the Senate. 

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 seemed 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, Buck said Boehner would attend a meeting with the president, but also accused the president of an unwillingness to negotiate.

“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.