Congressional Republican leaders are now saying they will attend Thursday’s afternoon meeting with White House officials and Democratic leaders on the budget.
Aides to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said both leaders will be present when Vice President Joseph Biden and others gather at 4 p.m. in the Senate to kick off talks on a deal to keep the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year.
Democratic leaders and White House officials agreed Wednesday to meet Thursday and were waiting for confirmation from GOP leaders, who initially were unclear about whether they would attend and called on Senate Democrats to produce a plan of their own to cut spending.
“The White House is talking about a meeting, but as of now, nothing is scheduled. I do know that such a meeting would be more productive if Democrats had a plan for cutting Washington spending and keeping the government running through the end of the fiscal year,” McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said Wednesday.
President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he planned to dispatch Biden, White House Chief of Staff William Daley and Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew to “begin meeting immediately” with Hill leaders to sort out a spending plan for the rest of the fiscal year. His announcement came within minutes of the Senate passing House Republicans’ two-week stopgap continuing resolution to keep the government funded past Friday.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.