A bipartisan budget deal remains elusive, days before Congress returns from the summer recess. Spending cuts and tax increases continue to be the sticking point between the White House and Republicans, as a deadline to avert a government shutdown next month looms. And after that, there may be a political fight between a Republican-controlled House and the administration on the debt ceiling, with the U.S. expected to hit the limit of its Congress-mandated borrowing authority before the end of the year.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told the media on Thursday following a meeting at the White House that talks have essentially yielded nothing. “It’s pretty evident that there’s no common ground right now,” Corker said. The group of eight Republican senators last met with the White House four weeks ago, and no future meetings have been scheduled, according to multiple reports.
“These meetings are in essence suspended,” Corker also told Politico. “Maybe at some point there’s an opportunity to come back to this. But we all know -- based on where we are -- there’s just not enough commonality really to even continue.”
Congress needs to pass some kind of spending bill to keep the government running beyond Sept. 30. Shortly thereafter, the Treasury Department expects a debt limit increase by mid-October to prevent a possible default.
When the Senate Budget Committee passed its first budget in four years in March, House Speaker John Boehner warned President Barack Obama that efforts to charm Republicans with dinners and phone calls wouldn’t suffice. He said Obama and Democrats needed to “roll up their sleeves” and make some “tough choices.”
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“No more tax hikes, no more gimmicks, and no more putting off what needs to be done today,” Boehner has said, calling for cooperation, but most importantly, a balanced budget. “And if we work together, we can succeed. We can balance the budget. We can protect the American Dream. And I hope the president and Senate Democrats will join us.”