The White House is planning separate meetings with House Republicans and Democrats next week, two sources with knowledge of the talks said Friday.
President Obama is expected to meet with House Republicans on Wednesday morning and Democrats on Thursday afternoon, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the meetings.
The meetings will mark the second time in a month that Obama has huddled separately with House members. No agenda has officially been set, although the lawmakers will likely touch on the ongoing deficit-reduction negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders.
Earlier this week, Vice President Biden held his third and fourth meetings with members of the White House-led bipartisan-bicameral working group. After emerging from Tuesday’s meeting at the Capitol, Biden told reporters that the group was making progress toward identifying at least $1 trillion in cuts.
There remains a wide rift between the two sides, however, both on a dollar figure for spending cuts -- Republicans have called for cuts at least equal to the amount by which the debt ceiling is raised, a figure that could exceed $2 trillion – and on the other components of a deficit-reduction deal – Democrats want tax increases to be included, while Republicans have pushed for Medicare reform.
Biden acknowledged Tuesday that the alternating Senate and House schedules have made scheduling the deficit-reduction talks somewhat tricky. But he suggested that the delegates to the talks could stay to continue working on a deal even as their fellow members head back to their districts.