President Barack Obama, in his first meeting in three years with U.S. House Republicans, said he doesn’t support balancing the budget over 10 years though he wants to find common ground on revamping the tax code.
The president also signaled a willingness to look at changes to entitlement programs, including Social Security, according to lawmakers who described today’s session, which lasted a little more than an hour.
Republican lawmakers said the meeting emphasized how far apart the parties are on tax increases and spending, even as Republicans and Democrats say deficit reduction is a priority.
Before addressing the nation’s long-term debt, Obama is “going to hold hostage the fact that he wants to raise taxes on the American people again. That’s not going to get us very far,” House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told reporters after the meeting. He described the session as “productive,” without offering details.
The president told House Republicans “he doesn’t want to balance the budget in 10 years and he wants a tax increase and he wants new spending,” California Representative Darrell Issa told reporters. “Other than that, we’re close.”
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