Republicans have a frank discussion, but there's no real progress in negotiations over spending and the federal debt limit
With time running out before the U.S. defaults on its debts, President Obama met with the House Republican Conference on Wednesday, and as GOP members emerged from the session they described talks that were modestly cordial and, well, not terribly productive.
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The Republicans arrived in a convoy of navy blue tour buses more befitting a spring-break tour of the capital monuments than a hard-headed negotiation. But this was serious business, and both the president and the GOP understand that the time for coming up with a debt-ceiling compromise is growing short.
"Let's not kick the can down the road," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, quoted himself as saying to the president, meaning the time had come for spending cuts.
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In a somewhat odd twist, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the House Budget Committee chairman, said that he walked the president through his much-discussed entitlement reform plan. "I simply explained what this plan is and how it works," Ryan said, referring to the oft-discussed plan. "It's been misdescribed by the president and many others." Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said that the president "admitted" the economy wasn't growing fast enough--something, in fact, the president has often said of his own volition.