President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, met for a “constructive” private meeting in the White House on Tuesday, their first since 2012.
In what both parties called a productive meeting, Obama and Boehner discussed several issues, including Obama’s attempts at immigration reform, Reuters reports. Though Obama is insistent on pushing immigration reform in Congress, Boehner has said that reform is unlikely to pass this year. According to Boehner, House Republicans distrust Obama and are unlikely to work with him on propositions like a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Obama and Boehner also discussed the possibility of removing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year unless a security agreement is reached. The conversation reportedly also included several domestic issues ranging from Obamacare to California’s crippling drought.
Despite tensions between Obama and Boehner in the past, aides for both camps described the meeting as constructive. White House press secretary Jay Carney claimed Obama saw the meeting as “a useful conversation."
“The president and speaker had a constructive conversation in the Oval Office for about an hour today,” a Boehner aide told Politico. “The two discussed a wide range of issues, including manufacturing, trade promotion authority, flood insurance, immigration, the president’s health care law, Afghanistan, the appropriations process, California drought relief, wildfire suppression, and the highway bill.
“They agreed that there is a lot work to do the rest of the year, and it is important to work together wherever we can find common ground,” the aide added.
Though Obama and Boehner discussed a number of topics the two have fought over in the past, aides for the two parties refused to disclose exactly which solutions, if any, Obama and Boehner reached during their meeting.
Tuesday’s meeting was the first time Obama and Boehner spoke together in private since Dec. 17, 2012, Reuters reported. At the time, the two met to discuss a failed “grand bargain” between tax reform and spending cuts in an attempt to lower the federal deficit. Though it has been some time since Boehner and Obama spoke privately, Carney suggested that the two speak more often via telephone and email.
"We don't read out every meeting and conversation that the president has," Carney said at the press briefing.