Congress and President Obama headed for a weekend on the brink after the first set of bipartisan talks emerged Thursday ahead of next week’s deadline to give the Treasury more borrowing authority and continue the effort to reopen the federal government.
The key moment Friday may come when Obama hosts Senate Republicans at the White House, finishing his meetings with all members of all four congressional caucuses this week.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) left the Capitol on Thursday after 7 p.m., after a 90-minute huddle with the president at the White House along with senior administration officials and about 20 House Republicans. Boehner’s leadership team has left the Friday schedule fairly light, in a nod to the ongoing talks with the White House, so there is flexibility to continue the negotiations in person.
The key moments along Pennsylvania Avenue are:
● 9 a.m., the House convenes. Officially, the legislative calendar calls for the chamber to continue passing the mini-spending bills for popular government agencies. Friday’s agenda includes funding for border security issues. As of late Thursday, the House Republicans had not scheduled any caucus meetings, but it’s possible one could arise so the more than 200 Republicans not at Thursday’s meeting with Obama could be briefed on the matter.
● 10 a.m, House Democratic Caucus meets. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) convenes a meeting of her rank-and-file to review the latest updates that she receives from the White House.
● 11:15 a.m., Senate Republicans head to the White House. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has jumped into bipartisan talks on the Senate side, leads the 46-senator GOP caucus to a meeting with Obama. McConnell has become the congressional “closer,” having helped seal three critical fiscal compromises in the past three years. Senate Republicans are pushing for a different deal from the one the House GOP initially offered. McConnell wants to cinch a deal that would both reopen the government and provide for a debt-ceiling increase, allowing then for a broader set of negotiations over tax and entitlement issues.