WASHINGTON, March 3 (UPI) -- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden vowed Thursday the "conversation will continue" after meeting with congressional leaders on a long-term budget deal.
President Barack Obama sent Biden, Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew and White House Chief of Staff William Daley to Capitol Hill Thursday to work out a deal for a long-term budget plan, 154 days after the government began operating without one, CNN reported.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had nothing to say to reporters after the hourlong meeting, and the White House issued a terse statement from Biden saying, "We had a good meeting, and the conversation will continue."
Before the meeting, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., pledged to keep passing short-term measures that would cut spending by $2 billion every week until Democrats offer their own long-term plans, The Washington Post reported.
"We would encourage the Senate and Leader Reid to act so that we can move forward, and until then, Mr. Speaker, I would say to my friend from Maryland (Minority Whip Steny Hoyer) that I would expect the House to continue its process of cutting $2 billion per week until we can see where the gentleman's caucus and then the Democratic leader in the Senate is," Cantor said on the House floor in the GOP's first strategic foray since Wednesday, when Obama signed a temporary stopgap funding bill to keep the government gears turning until March 18.
National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling said before the meeting the White House supports another $6 billion in cuts, a figure GOP aides scoffed at.
The House has passed a long-term measure that would cut the budget by $61 billion and fund the government through September, the end of the fiscal year, but the bill has been stuck in the Senate.
"Republicans are happy to go" to the meeting, McConnell told Fox News. "But putting a meeting on the schedule doesn't change the fact that neither the White House nor a single Democrat in Congress has proposed a plan that would allow the government to remain open and that would respond to the voters by reining in spending. All we get is talk."