Obama: 'There is no excuse' for dragging out spending talks

President Obama said Tuesday he is launching an around-the-clock effort to avoid a government shutdown.

Obama, in a surprise appearance at the White House press briefing, said he would summon congressional leaders back to the White House Wednesday if they fail to hammer out an agreement funding the government. 

"Myself, [Vice President] Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Democrats advance tax plan through hurdles MORE, my team — we are prepared to meet as long as possible to get this resolved," Obama said.


"We are now at the point where there is no excuse to extend this further," he said.

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE (R-Ohio), who was forced to delay his own press conference because of Obama's appearance, said conversations would continue at the White House. 

The top-ranking House Republican emphasized that his party wants to “keep the government open,” but that the Democrats' top-line of $33 billion in spending cuts from current funding levels does not go far enough for Republicans.

“That is not acceptable to our members, and we will not agree to it,” BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE said of the Democratic-favored $33 billion in cuts.

Obama all but ruled out a weeklong stopgap extension of government spending to buy time for negotiations a day after Boehner proposed a seven-day funding measure that would cut $12 billion in spending and keep the Defense Department operating through September.

Obama did say he could make room for a clean, 48- to 72-hour extension this weekend if a deal is reached by day's end Friday.

Obama sought to put the pressure on Boehner, suggesting Democrats had offered $33 billion in spending cuts and that neither side could get 100 percent of what they want from the negotiations. 

The dueling press conferences took place hours after Boehner and other congressional leaders marched to the White House for a meeting, where they failed to strike a deal. 

The president said that his administration and lawmakers are "closer than we have ever been to getting an agreement" over funding the government, which will shut down on Saturday if some type of spending measure isn't passed. 

Obama said that Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDemocrats say Biden must get more involved in budget fight Biden looks to climate to sell economic agenda Justice Breyer issues warning on remaking Supreme Court: 'What goes around comes around' MORE (D-Nev.) would meet at the Capitol this afternoon, though without any participation by the administration. 

The president said that Boehner, Reid and the chairmen of the House and Senate spending panels would return to the White House again on Wednesday — and, possibly, Thursday and Friday — if no agreement was made. 

"If they can't sort it out, I want them back here tomorrow," Obama said.

Among the sticking points in the negotiations are the policy riders that the House attached to the spending bill it approved in February. That legislation would cut $61 billion in government spending through the end of the year.

Senate Democrats say they have met Republicans halfway and agreed to $33 billion in spending cuts, but Boehner rejected that figure on Monday, saying those cuts are "not enough."

—This post was updated at 3:12 p.m.


Molly K. Hooper contributed.