WASHINGTON — House Republicans are staking out stark differences with Democrats as they prepare to meet with President Barack Obama on Wednesday for talks over the budget impasse, while Obama is conceding that a political accommodation may be impossible.
On the one hand, many Republicans who long have chided Obama for failing to engage their party on the nation’s biggest problems are applauding his newfound outreach — part of a concerted effort by the president to mend ties with Congress in hopes of reaching a grand compromise on fiscal issues.
On the other hand, neither side is backing down from entrenched positions that have prevented deals in the past — a status quo scenario that Obama acknowledged could preclude any agreement.
“Ultimately, it may be that the differences are just too wide,” he said in an interview broadcast Wednesday on ABC’s Good Morning America, hours before he was to meet with House Republicans at the Capitol.
“It may be that, ideologically, if their position is, ‘We can’t do any revenue,’ or ‘We can only do revenue if we gut Medicare or gut Social Security or gut Medicaid, if that’s the position, then we’re probably not going to be able to get a deal,” he said.
The issues separating the two parties are the same as they have been all along — fundamental disagreements over whether to pair tax increases with budget cuts in an effort to rein in the nation’s deficit.
Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more details.