The huddle will be Biden’s third meeting this month with congressional leaders from both chambers. Attending the talks will be Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (S.C.) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).
The stakes at the meeting are heightened in light of several events this week. It will mark the group’s first gathering since the bipartisan “Gang of Six” senators hit an impasse this week. That group had been working independently of the Biden-led group toward its own deficit-reduction plan.
The huddle also comes as Senate Democrats have indicated they will not release a 2012 budget blueprint of their own until the Biden-led talks produce a result.
Van Hollen, the ranking member on the House Budget Committee, told reporters after the panel’s last meeting that negotiators have established areas of compromise, although the tougher issues – particularly on entitlement spending and tax revenue – have yet to be addressed.
In a sign that the group has made some progress, Bloomberg reported Thursday that Biden and the other negotiators had agreed on $200 billion in cuts to mandatory spending.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said that House Republicans will not support any effort to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling this summer unless such a move is matched by immediate spending cuts. The size of those cuts, Boehner indicated, would need to be in the ballpark of the amount by which the debt ceiling is raised, a figure that will likely be in the trillions, not billions, of dollars.
The group, which has been meeting across the street from the White House at the historic Blair House, did not meet this past week while the the House was out of session. The timeline going forward is also somewhat tricky: both chambers are in town next week, but then, during the first week of June, Biden will be traveling in Italy and the Senate will be out of session.
The Treasury Department has projected that Congress has until Aug. 2 to raise the debt limit before the country risks default.
Staff writer Perry Bacon, Jr. contributed to this report.