President Barack Obama is meeting with Senate Democratic leaders Wednesday afternoon to try to break the partisan impasse on Capitol Hill over keeping the government funded.
Obama sat down with Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), Policy Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Conference Secretary Patty Murray (Wash.) at about 1:30 p.m. to hash out the next steps for passing a long-term continuing resolution. Hill aides confirmed the meeting was taking place in the Oval Office.
During a Wednesday briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed the meeting and said only that attendees are getting together “to discuss obvious matters.”
The meeting comes as Congress is looking for help negotiating a budget deal that, if left unresolved, would force a government shutdown March 18, when the current continuing resolution expires. Both parties have put forward proposals to keep the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year, but the two sides are about $50 billion apart and neither side appears willing to give.
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.