Government Shutdown Looms As Boehner Balks

House Speaker Boehner (R-OH) said lawmakers have yet to reach a budget deal after he and other congressional leaders met with President Obama this morning, upping the ante in the spending standoff and increasing the likelihood of a government shutdown by the end of the week.

“While there was good discussion, no agreement was reached,” said a readout on the meeting from Boehner’s office.The readout also ratcheted up the rhetoric and brinksmanship over the possibility of a government shutdown if the two sides cannot reach an agreement on spending cuts in a continuing resolution funding the government through the end of September. A previous measure keeping the government up and running will expire by Friday.

House Republicans “will not be put in a box and forced to choose between two options that are bad for the country,” it warned.

Instead of bowing to meet Senate Democrats’ demands, Boehner indicated that House Republicans would “rally behind” yet another stop-gap spending bill that would fully fund the Defense Department while cutting an additional $12 billion in spending and keep the government funded for another week.

Boehner also slammed Senate Democrats and Vice President Joe Biden’s claims that the two sides had come to an agreement on top-dollar figure of $33 billion in cuts and were only haggling over where the cuts would come from.

“As he has said for the past week, the Speaker reminded those present that there has never been an agreement on $33 billion as an acceptable level of spending cuts,” said the House Republican readout. “And that $33 billion in cuts is not enough, particularly when it is achieved in large part through budget gimmicks.”

Before the White House budget powwow, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama is optimistic that a deal could be struck because both sides had agreed to the overall amount of cuts.

The President “believes time is of the essence,” Carney said. “He believes very strongly that an agreement can be reached.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), also attended the meeting, as did the chairmen of key appropriations committees: Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), as well as Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY).

Reid is scheduled to make remarks after attending Senate Democrats’ Tuesday policy lunch.

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