POLITICS
04/04/2011 01:43 pm ET | Updated Jun 04, 2011

Obama To Meet With Boehner, Reid On Budget

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will meet with congressional leaders on Tuesday to discuss funding for the remainder of the fiscal year, with only four days left until current government funding runs out.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and appropriations committee chairmen from both chambers will meet with the president, Obama spokesman Jay Carney confirmed in his daily press briefing. He said the White House was working closely with Congress on a budget deal that could pass through both the House and Senate, which so far have struggled to agree to a spending deal. If they fail to pass a funding bill by April 8, government functions deemed "non-essential" would shut down.

"There was work over the weekend," Carney said. "The president made those phone calls and is calling this meeting precisely because he is concerned [about keeping the government funded]."

Obama has said a government shutdown would put the already fragile economy at risk, arguing Friday that a shutdown based on failed negotiations in Congress would be "the height of irresponsibility."

During his briefing, Carney reiterated the White House's commitment to avoiding a government shutdown.

"I don't want to speculate about the consequences of getting this [done] save to say nobody believes that it is good for the economy to run a government in a way where it stops, starts, funding is dependent every two weeks on these kinds of negotiations," he said.

Vice President Joe Biden, along with White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Budget Director Jacob Lew, has worked with House and Senate leaders to set basic parameters for a budget deal that would cut about $39 billion from domestic social programs. But the two sides are still struggling to come to a final deal, with Boehner facing pressure from the conservative wing of his party over ideological cuts.

House Republicans have repeatedly accused Obama of failing to lead on the budget, especially after he traveled to South America during negotiations in March. Democrats have also criticized the president's low-profile role in the budget deal, calling on him to push harder against cuts proposed by Republicans.

The House GOP's budget bill would cut about $61 billion from spending and includes measures to defund health care reform implementation and Planned Parenthood and block environmental regulations. The Senate has not passed a budget bill, but voted down the House bill last month.

Although Obama has spoken to congressional leadership by phone, Tuesday's meeting will be his first with Congress over the budget for the rest of the fiscal year.

Sam Stein contributed reporting.