From left: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Speaker John Boehner, President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell meet in the White House on Monday to continue deficit talks.
“Our disagreements are not personal, they never have been. The gulf between the two parties now is about policy. It’s not about process. It’s not about personalities,” Boehner said. “The president and I do not agree on his view that the government needs more revenues through taxes on job creators. The president and I also disagree on the extent of the entitlement problem and what is necessary in order to solve it.”
Democrats on the Hill seemed to believe they had received the short end of the stick when it came to the presidential treatment Monday. Obama told reporters, “There is, frankly, resistance on my side to do anything on entitlements.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had said as early as May — when the bicameral, Biden talks began — that Democrats are open to reform to Medicare and Medicaid but still believed her Caucus could fight to protect the programs from substantive changes.
“When we’re talking about Medicare, we are open to many [changes],” Pelosi told Bloomberg News then. “We are listening to every suggestion. But one suggestion we are not open to is the abolishment of Medicare. That is what the Republicans have put forth in their budget.”
Steven T. Dennis and John Stanton contributed to this report.
This article updates the print version to include a reaction from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s spokeswoman.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.