As congressional leaders and the White House continue scrambling to work out a budget deal, a key moment could come on when House Republicans will hold a closed-door conference meeting in the Capitol.
The noon meeting in a Capitol basement conference room will come exactly 12 hours before the measure currently funding the government is set to expire. House Republican leaders are set to address reporters after the meeting.
A White House meeting Thursday night among President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) appeared to make progress, although provisions in a House funding bill known as policy riders, such as one banning federal funding for Planned Parenthood and others limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory authority, still appear to be hurdles to a deal.
But in a statement Friday morning, Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, said that spending cuts remain the biggest issue.
“While nothing will be decided until everything is decided, the largest issue is still spending cuts,” Steel said. “The American people want to cut spending to help the private sector create jobs – and the Democrats that run Washington don’t.”
Meanwhile, Jon Summers, a spokesman for Reid, tweeted on Friday morning that the parties had agreed to a number at the White House Thursday evening – and that the policy riders related to women’s health were the main obstacle.
“Counter 2 GOP spin, we agreed on a number @ WH,” Summers tweeted. “Only thing standing btw us & an agreement 2 keep govt open is GOP oppo to women’s health.”
The House was originally scheduled to be in recess this weekend, but House members are being told to keep their schedules open and remain in town.