WASHINGTON — Signaling an attempt to break an impasse, President Barack Obama today placed calls to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell about the looming spending cuts set to kick in on March 1.
The outreach was Obama’s first in weeks to top Republicans in Congress. They came as both parties remained in a stalemate over how to avoid across-the-board automatic cuts that would trim $85 billion from most government accounts.
White House spokesman Jay Carney revealed the calls today, describing them as “good conversations.” But neither he nor top Republican aides offered details about the discussions, the kind of restraint that has in the past indicated a move toward genuine negotiations.
McConnell spokesman Don Stewart says Thursday’s call was Obama’s first to McConnell since New Year’s Eve, when the White House and Congress were negotiating to avoid a combination of across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts that came to be known as the fiscal cliff.