The threat of a government shutdown loomed Tuesday as a meeting involving President Barack Obama and congressional leaders fell apart without agreement and the two sides appeared to be further apart than ever.
The potential shutdown comes on the heels of a Treasury Department report showing the country is spending at an alarming rate, and Erskine Bowles, the co-chairman of Obama’s budget committee, describing the nation’s deficit as a “cancer” that could “destroy this country” if nothing is done.
After Tuesday’s meeting with Obama, House Speaker John Boehner declared that no deal had been reached. He also warned House Republicans “will not be put in a box” by being forced to accept a deal that they do not believe is right for the American people.
With Republicans up against their self-imposed, 72-hour advance notice requirement before they will vote on any legislation, the time for a compromise is running short. The current resolution to fund government operations ends Friday.
Bowles recently told the Senate Budget Committee that he is “really concerned” the nation’s grave fiscal woes are being ignored. One sign of the growing deficit problem: The Treasury Department reported that, in March, the federal government spent eight times the amount of tax revenue it collected.
“This debt and these deficits that we are incurring on an annual basis are like a cancer and they are truly going to destroy this country from within unless we have the common sense to do something about it,” Bowles warned.