WASHINGTON -- In secretive endgame negotiations, officials say President Barack Obama and House Republican leaders are again trying to reach for an elusive "grand bargain" to cut deficits by $4 trillion or more and prevent a threatened government default.
House Speaker John Boehner says his rank and file generally stands ready to compromise in order to reach an agreement as a way of, as he puts it, "getting our economy going again and
growing jobs." Obama, in a newspaper opinion piece, says the talks provide an "opportunity to do something big and meaningful."
Still, 12 days before the default deadline, officials stress that no compromise appears imminent.
Republicans are opposed to higher taxes and Democrats are loath to cut Medicare and other benefit programs.
In a measure of concern among Democrats, party leaders spent nearly two hours meeting with Obama at the White House late Thursday.
While talks on a major, long-term agreement continue, a fresh, shorter-term backup plan appears to be gaining momentum.