WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and GOP lawmakers, hundreds of billions of dollars short of their goal, seem trapped by inflexible bargaining positions as they struggle for agreement on cutting trillions of dollars from the federal budget.
Such cuts are the price for maintaining the government's ability to borrow to pay its bills.
Lawmakers were asked to return to the White House for talks Tuesday afternoon after a 90-minute Monday session produced no progress other than to identify the size of the gap between Republicans and Obama.
Neither side is showing any flexibility that might generate hopes for a speedy agreement. Instead, Republicans again took a firm stand against revenue increases while Obama and his Democratic allies insisted that taxes be part of any equation that cuts programs like Medicare.