Obama, Boehner Talk – `Lines Open’

Photograph by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner during a meeting with bipartisan group of congressional leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Nov. 16, 2012 in Washington.

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met today at the White House to talk about the dispute over the U.S. budget, representatives of both men said.

And the identical statements released by the White House and speaker’s office indicated that the lines remain open.

“This afternoon, the president and Speaker Boehner met at the White House to discuss efforts to resolve the fiscal cliff,” said identical statements from Amy Brundage, a White House spokeswoman, and Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner. “We’re not reading out details of the conversation, but the lines of communication remain open.”

Today’s meeting is the first known face-to-face conversation between the two men since Nov. 16, when Boehner and other congressional leaders sat down with Obama at the White House. They have talked on the telephone since then.

They are working to avert the automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect Jan. 1 if Congress does not act. The White House has proposed $1.6 trillion in new revenue, including higher tax rates for the highest-earning taxpayers. Boehner has offered $800 billion in new revenue, solely from limiting tax exemptions. Both sides also are negotiating over spending cuts to accompany that new revenue.

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