There were news conferences and a high-level phone call between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, but no immediate sign of progress on reopening the government a week into a partial shutdown or reaching a deal to avoid the first-ever U.S. default next week.
Obama called Boehner on Tuesday morning, and the White House then announced the president would make a statement and take some questions from reporters at 2 p.m. ET.
Earlier, Boehner demanded that Obama and Democrats negotiate with Republicans on steps needed to end the shutdown that began on October 1 and raise the nation's debt ceiling before the deadline for default on October 17.FULL STORY
It appears House Speaker John Boehner was right - he had no reason to worry about being re-elected to his post this year.
There were certainly rumbles and grumbling after furor that there was no vote on Sandy aid during the fiscal cliff. That prompted some GOP members to speak out with extremely harsh words about Boehner. That anger was quickly defused after Boehner promised a vote would take place on that aid this Friday.
A few republicans chose to at least make a symbolic statement during today's vote: either by not voting for Boehner or nominating someone else. (One member nominated Colin Powell. Yes, non-members can actually serve if they have enough votes.)
Still, with the votes from 220 members, Boehner will again lead the House and the Republican majority.
Read more about some of the drama that has surrounded Boehner lately:
[Updated at 1:19 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama said he's invited congressional leaders from both parties to the White House next week for talks on reducing the deficit and avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff facing the economy at the end of the year.
Obama, speaking at the White House on Friday afternoon, repeated his stance that he wants a plan that would allow the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts only for income over $250,000.
Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
Congress showed little sign of resolving its partisan standoff Tuesday over the payroll tax cut extension as the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a measure expressing disapproval of a Senate plan, and leaders in the Democratic-controlled Senate insisted they won't go along with a new House proposal.
The House motion, passed in a virtual party-line 229-193 vote, called for the dispute to be immediately taken up by a House-Senate conference committee - something already ruled out by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.
House Republicans on Tuesday passed a motion calling for further negotiations on the payroll tax cut, disagreeing with a Senate measure that called for a two-month extension. Only Republicans supported the motion in the 229-193 vote.
Senate votes for a stopgap plan, house repubs block it. These guys are ridiculous. #occupycongress—
Sara Caldwell (@problemcauser1) December 20, 2011
The Senate voted 89-10 in favor of a two-month tax-cut extension Saturday - a fallback plan designed to give both sides more time to negotiate - but that short-term compromise has slammed into a conservative roadblock in the House, where rank-and-file Republicans are fuming over the short-term nature of the plan, among other things.
As the clock ticks down, nobody appears willing to bend and neither side seems to know how to break the logjam.
The latest political drama follows what seems like a year of endless debt talks and regular episodes of near-government shutdowns, and some people are simply fed up with Congress. We take a look at the frustration with government that people are sharing on both CNN.com and around the Web.
Some users commented they felt lawmakers from both parties are to blame and they planned to hold them accountable. They said that Americans have the power to vote out incumbents if they can't get anything done to help the people of this country.
If I was 2 make a Zombie film about things walking around & getting nothing done except hurting people couldn't I just use Congress as cast?—
Jason Hawes (@Jchawes) December 20, 2011
us2us: "Who do these people represent? Answer: Themselves."
marjoreemae: "It's a shame responsible people will not come together and fix what's wrong with our country. I vote not to pay these individuals. It's time we have a real voice in our government."
gadzooks: "I do hereby call for the resignation of every member of Congress."
hv19006: "I'm just not voting for any of the incumbents in the next election. They have all proved they can't get the job done, both the Senate and the House, both the Democrats and the Republicans."
They may take our lives, but they'll never make us hold a vote on a payroll tax cut deal that got 89 votes in the Senate. #braveheartmoment—
Jesse Lee (@jesseclee44) December 20, 2011
[Updated at 12:20 p.m. ET] Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Monday he will not agree to reopen negotiations with House leaders on the payroll tax cut until the House passes the two-month extension already approved by the Senate.
[Posted at 10:40 a.m. ET] Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Monday morning he expects the House of Representatives to reject the Senate's two-month extension of the payroll tax cut.
Boehner also said he expects the House to pass legislation reinforcing the need for a one-year extension, and wants the matter to be taken up by a House-Senate conference committee.
"We oppose the Senate bill because doing the two month extension instead of a full year extension causes uncertainty for job creators," he said. "I used to run a small business. I met a payroll. I hired workers. A two month extension creates uncertainty and will cause problems for people who are trying to create jobs in the private sector."
"The idea that tax policy can be done two months at a time is a kind of activity we see here in Washington that's really put our economy off its tracks."
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is expected to vote Monday evening on a short-term extension of the popular payroll tax cut, but the measure is facing fierce resistance from conservatives upset with both the temporary nature of the bill and its impact on funding for Social Security.FULL STORY
House Republicans tried to seize the political upper hand in the job-creation debate Monday, urging President Barack Obama to support GOP-sponsored legislation designed to ease industry burdens imposed by environmental regulations, among other things.
Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sent a letter to the president noting that the Republican-controlled House is scheduled to consider two bills - an "EPA Regulatory Relief Act" requiring authorities to reissue certain rules in a "less burdensome manner," and a "Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act" requiring regulators to reconsider rules affecting an industry critical to new construction.
"The federal government has a responsibility under the Constitution to regulate interstate commerce, and there are reasonable regulations that protect our children and help keep our environment clean," Boehner said in the letter.FULL STORY
Three things you need to know today.
Nurses strike: Almost 23,000 nurses at hospitals in northern and central California won't report to work on Thursday as they stage a one-day strike to protest concessions demanded by hospitals that the nurses say will hurt their role as patient advocates and cut their health and pension benefits.
The strike by members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United targets hospitals operated by Sutter Health and Kaiser Permanente as well as Children's Hospital in Oakland.
Among their grievances, the nurses say job concessions sought by Sutter Health would require them to report to work when ill, endangering patient health, according to a statement on the union's website.
At Kaiser, nurses are striking in sympathy with co-workers who face cuts in their health coverage and retirement plans, the nurses' union says.
Complaints at Children's Hospital include cuts to health care plans that would make it too expensive for nurses to bring their own kids to Children's for treatment, according to the union statement.
Obama jobs speech: President Barack Obama head to Cincinnati on Thursday to pitch his $447 billion jobs bill – a combination of infrastructure spending, tax cuts and aid to state and local governments.
He'll speak with the Brent Spence Bridge as a backdrop. The span across the Ohio River carries one of the country's major trucking routes, but it is in need of $2.4 billion in repairs, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The bridge links the constituencies of the top two Republicans in Congress - House Speaker John Boehner's district is on the Ohio side while Kentucky is home of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and winning Ohio's 18 electoral votes in 2012 could be pivotal to Obama's re-election.
Taiwan arms: China warned the United States Thursday that a multi-billion dollar arms sales to Taiwan will create "severe obstacles" between Beijing and Washington, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
"The wrongdoing by the U.S. side will inevitably undermine bilateral relations as well as exchanges and cooperation in military and security areas," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun said, according to Xinhua. Zhang summoned U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke to lodge a protest.
The $5.3 billion arms package includes upgrades to Taiwan's F-16 fighter fleet, a five-year extension of F-16 pilot training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and spare parts for the upkeep of three different planes used by the Taiwanese, according to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. The deal is part of the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.
President Barack Obama has agreed to deliver an economic address to Congress on September 8, rather than September 7 as he originally requested, after House Speaker John Boehner raised concerns about the earlier date, the White House said Wednesday night.
Obama had announced earlier Wednesday that he wanted to address Congress at 8 p.m. on September 7, intending to introduce his highly anticipated job growth plan. But in a letter to Obama, Boehner, R-Ohio, noted that 8 p.m. was less than two hours after the House is scheduled to complete legislative business, and that security sweeps of the chamber usually take more than three hours.
Boehner countered with a suggestion to move the speech to September 8.
Numerous observers have pointed out that September 7 conflicts with a Republican presidential debate to be held at the Reagan Library in California, and September 8 is the day of the opening game of the National Football League's regular season. People from both parties made accusations – on condition of not being named – of high-handed behavior by the other side.
Here is the White House's statement, released Thursday night, announcing Obama's acceptance of an address on September 8:FULL STORY
But without any final plan, the fierce tug-of-war between Democrats and the GOP over whether to raise the government's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling continues.
If the debt ceiling isn't raised, many, including President Barack Obama and the Treasury Department, warn that the country will risk unprecedented default. That default could cause Americans to face rising interest rates. It could also mean that the value of the U.S. dollar would drop compared to other currencies. As interest rates increase, the cost of borrowing rises, so individual mortgages, car loans and student loans could become significantly more expensive. As individual Americans' personal finances take a possible hit, some financial experts have warned that America's AAA credit rating could also be downgraded, threatening an already drooping stock market.
Obama recently indicated he can't guarantee Social Security checks will be mailed out on time if the debt ceiling is not raised. Other critical government programs could be in jeopardy as well. Several CNN iReporters have weighed in on how the debt ceiling issue is affecting their lives. Here are a few answers to the big "What Ifs" of the debt debate compiled by Reuters, and linked out from CNN's Political Ticker and Candy's Crowley's Sunday show "State of the Union".
So where does America go from here? What lies ahead today and for the week?
The GOP-controlled House on Saturday rejected the debt ceiling plan proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada. The plan was rejected 173-246; a two-thirds majority was required for passage. Most Democrats supported Reid's plan, while every Republican in the chamber rejected it. On Friday, the House passed a proposal put forward by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, that seeks to raise the debt ceiling and cut government spending while requiring that Congress pass a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The 218-210 vote was strictly on party lines. The Senate then voted 59-41 to table Reid's bill, effectively killing it.
Boehner's plan calls for $917 billion in savings over the next decade, while creating a special congressional committee to recommend additional savings of $1.6 trillion or more. It would allow the debt ceiling to be increased by a total of roughly $2.5 trillion through two separate votes. The $2.5 trillion total would be enough to fund the federal government through the end of 2012. The plan originally called for a congressional vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution by the end of the year. Boehner then reached out to disgruntled conservatives by amending the plan to require congressional passage of such an amendment as a condition for raising the debt limit by the full $2.5 trillion.
Late Saturday night, Reid announced a 12-hour delay on a key procedural vote on his debt ceiling proposal. The vote to end debate and break a GOP filibuster will now be held at 1 p.m. ET Sunday, as opposed to 1 a.m. Forty-three of 47 Senate Republicans signed a letter to Reid Saturday warning that they would not vote for his proposal as currently constituted.
Reid's plan would reduce federal deficits over the next decade by $2.4 trillion while raising the debt ceiling by a similar amount – meeting the GOP's demand that total savings should at least equal any total debt ceiling hike. Roughly $1 trillion of the savings is based on the planned U.S. withdrawals from military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq. Reid's plan also would establish a congressional committee made up of 12 House and Senate members to consider additional options for debt reduction. The committee's proposals would be guaranteed a Senate vote with no amendments by the end of this year. In addition, it incorporates a process proposed by McConnell that would give Obama the authority to raise the debt ceiling in two steps while providing Congress the opportunity to vote its disapproval.
On Saturday at the White House, Obama met with Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California.
The president has endorsed Reid's plan and threatened to veto Boehner's plan. Obama strongly opposes any bill that doesn't raise the debt ceiling through the 2012 election. He has promised to veto any short-term debt ceiling extension unless it paves the way for a "grand bargain" of more sweeping reforms and revenue increases.
On Friday, Obama urged Senate Democrats and Republicans to take the lead in congressional negotiations. He said the House GOP plan "has no chance of becoming law." Obama also urged Americans to keep contacting members of Congress in order "to keep the pressure on Washington." The president made a nationally televised plea for compromise Monday night, though he also criticized Republicans for opposing any tax hikes on the wealthy.
The federal government has three days left to raise the nation's current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, the Treasury Department said. Failure to do so will risk an unprecedented national default.
If the debt ceiling is not raised by Tuesday, Americans could face rising interest rates and a declining dollar, among other problems.
As the cost of borrowing rises, individual mortgages, car loans and student loans could become significantly more expensive. Some financial experts have warned of a downgrade of America's triple-A credit rating and a potential stock market crash.
Without an increase in the debt limit, the federal government will not be able to pay all of its bills next month. President Barack Obama recently indicated he can't guarantee Social Security checks will be mailed out on time. Other critical government programs could be endangered as well.
Where do things stand in the fight to raise the debt ceiling?
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, temporarily stopped legislative consideration of his debt ceiling proposal late Saturday night, reversing an earlier decision to hold a key procedural vote on the measure by 1 a.m. ET Sunday.
Negotiations were still underway at the White House, Reid said. The vote will now be held at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
There are "many elements to be finalized" and still "a distance to go," Reid said. "We should give everyone as much room as possible to do their work."
The announcement comes a few hours after Reid denied claims from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, that progress was being made on a debt ceiling deal.
The Republicans "refuse to negotiate in good faith," Reid said. "The process has not been moved forward during this day."
The Democratic-led Senate on Friday blocked the Boehner plan from being considered, voting 59-41 to table the measure.
Under an amended version, it would reduce federal deficits over the next decade by $2.4 trillion while raising the debt ceiling by a similar amount – meeting the GOP's demand that total savings should at least equal any total debt ceiling hike.
Roughly $1 trillion in the savings are based on the planned U.S. withdrawals from military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Reid's plan also would establish a congressional committee made up of 12 House and Senate members to consider additional options for debt reduction. The committee's proposals would be guaranteed a Senate vote with no amendments by the end of this year.
In addition, it incorporates a process proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, that would give Obama the authority to raise the debt ceiling in two steps while providing Congress the opportunity to vote its disapproval.
House Speaker John Boehner expressed optimism Saturday that an agreement is near, despite the House's rejection of a plan proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"In spite of our differences, we're dealing with reasonable, responsible people," Boehner said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, also said Saturday afternoon that he had talked to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden "within the last hour" and is "confident and optimistic" that there will be an "agreement within the very near future."
Earlier Saturday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives rejected Reid's proposed debt ceiling plan in a sharply polarized 173-246 vote. Republicans unanimously opposed the measure while most Democrats backed it. GOP leaders conducted the vote on Reid's bill under rules requiring a two-thirds majority for passage, thereby ensuring its defeat.
The Republican-controlled House on Friday passed a proposal put forward by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, that seeks to raise the debt ceiling and cut government spending while requiring that Congress pass a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The 218-210 vote was strictly on party lines. The vote had been scheduled to occur Thursday night, but Republican leaders postponed it because they lacked support within their own caucus to get it passed. After the House vote, the measure went to the Senate, where Democrats blocked it from being considered.
Boehner's plan calls for $917 billion in savings over the next decade, while creating a special congressional committee to recommend additional savings of $1.6 trillion or more. It would allow the debt ceiling to be increased by a total of roughly $2.5 trillion through two separate votes. The $2.5 trillion total would be enough to fund the federal government through the end of 2012.
The plan originally called for a congressional vote on a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution by the end of the year. Boehner then reached out to disgruntled conservatives by amending the plan to require congressional passage of such an amendment as a condition for raising the debt limit by the full $2.5 trillion.
Obama has endorsed Reid's plan and threatened a veto of Boehner's plan. The president strongly opposes any bill that doesn't raise the debt ceiling through the 2012 election, and he has promised to veto any short-term debt ceiling extension unless it paves the way for a "grand bargain" of more sweeping reforms and revenue increases.
On Friday, Obama urged Senate Democrats and Republicans to take the lead in congressional negotiations. He said the House GOP plan "has no chance of becoming law." Obama also urged Americans to keep contacting members of Congress in order "to keep the pressure on Washington."
The president made a nationally televised plea for compromise Monday night, though he also criticized Republicans for opposing any tax hikes on the wealthy.
No face-to-face negotiations are currently scheduled for Saturday.
The "debt ceiling" battle is being fought not just in Washington, but all around the United States as people debate on how best to resolve the issue and who is to blame for the crisis.
Many of these people have submitted their thoughts about the topic to CNN in recent days through iReport. Some - be they military personnel, small business owners fearful of tax increases, or people receiving entitlement benefits - called for action as they spoke of the personal impact of failing to reach a resolution.
Others echoed Democratic and Republican leaders' talking points. In the former case, that includes possible revenue hikes and insisting that the debate shouldn't be renewed next year, and in the latter by insisting on no tax increase and movement on a balanced budget amendment that would mandate the nation balance its books.
Below is a sampling of recent iReporters' comments, as the U.S. government creeps closer to an August 2 deadline to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling or default on its debt.
Debt ceiling crisis – House Speaker John Boehner's plan that would raise the nation's debt ceiling and enact sweeping cuts in government spending could come up for a vote Friday after House Republicans called off a vote late Thursday. The delay revealed a deep rift within the GOP that could undermine the party's latest attempt to avoid an unprecedented national default and stave off potential economic catastrophe.
Economic data – The government will report Friday how much the economy expanded in the second quarter – but don't expect much good news. A CNNMoney survey of economists forecasts the economy grew only 1.8% in the second quarter, which would be a slight slowdown from the first quarter when it grew a lethargic 1.9%. The University of Michigan's consumer confidence report for July also is due Friday.
Key debt vote – The House of Representatives is set to hold a critical vote Thursday on Speaker John Boehner's debt plan. The vote comes a day after Boehner told fellow Republicans to "get your ass in line," according to two GOP sources. The vote will be a major test for the GOP leadership.
However, a letter from Senate Democrats said the Republican plan has no chance of passing the Senate. For their part, top Republicans called the Democratic plan a nonstarter. If Congress fails to raise the current $14.3 trillion debt limit by August 2, Americans could face rising interest rates and a declining dollar, among other problems.
High-level debt ceiling talks dragged on between administration and congressional officials Tuesday as lawmakers struggled to devise a way to overcome deep partisan divisions and avoid an unprecedented national default that could now be little more than one week away.
Publicly, neither Democratic nor Republican leaders indicated a willingness to consider the latest proposal put forward by their counterparts.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, called a plan put forward by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, a market-rattling "short-term solution" that "really isn't a solution at all." Boehner called Reid's blueprint a "blank check" for more uncontrolled spending that would undermine the economy.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, called Reid's plan "another (Democratic) attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people."FULL STORY
House Speaker John Boehner says he has ended debt talks with President Barack Obama, CNN has learned.
"I have decided to end discussions with the White House and begin conversations with the leaders of the Senate in an effort to find a path forward," Boehner says in a letter to be sent to Republican House members.
President Barack Obama he has told the Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress to come to the White House on Saturday morning to "explain to me how we are going to avoid default" on the nation's debt.
The president said his administration had offered "an extraordinarily fair deal" to cut expenditures and raise revenues, in return for Congress agreeing to hike the nation's debt ceiling. But he said that House Speaker John Boehner "left (him) at the altar" by ending negotiations around 5:30 p.m. Friday.FULL STORY
Congressional leaders are in talks Sunday evening with President Barack Obama at the White House, hoping to craft a comprehensive deficit reduction deal that appeared to stall earlier in the weekend.
The key players - including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada - met in a White House conference room Sunday evening.
When asked before the start of Sunday's talks if a deal could be reached within 10 days, Obama told reporters, "We need to."FULL STORY
Top congressional Republicans on Friday used the new dismal jobs report to blast Democrats' push for more tax revenue in the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations, arguing that such a move would derail an already shaky economic recovery.
Federal officials reported Friday that the economy added only 18,000 jobs in June - far below the number predicted by most economists. Unemployment inched up another tenth of a point to 9.2%.
"Today's report is more evidence that the misguided 'stimulus' spending binge, excessive regulations, and an overwhelming national debt continue to hold back private-sector job creation in our country," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "A debt limit increase that raises taxes or fails to make serious spending cuts won't pass the House."FULL STORY
First day of Wimbledon – There's no shortage of storylines this year at Wimbledon. High on that list, as usual, are the sisters Williams. Venus and Serena hold nine Wimbledon titles between the two of them, but observers are still trying to determine if Serena is rusty or if the Williams sisters are "the ones to beat" at the grass-court tournament. Never mind that Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki is the top seed.
There's also the continuing saga of Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Switzerland's Roger Federer. The No. 3-seeded Federer snapped a historic winning streak by the No. 2-seeded Djokovic at the French Open two weeks ago. Now Federer is importing a little smack talk into the mix, saying, "I know I can beat Novak on any surface. ... I've done that in the past. Just because he's on a great winning streak doesn't mean he's unbeatable."
As for the No. 1 seed, Spain's Rafa Nadal is taking a different tack from Federer and playing down the chances of snaring his 11th Grand Slam title.
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Saturday during a surprise visit to Baghdad, the prime minister's office said in a statement.
Boehner, along with other members of Congress and Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman, met at al-Maliki'soffice to discuss bilateral relations and the future of strategic cooperation between the two countries.
Al-Maliki stressed the need to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the United States and Iraq, particularly in the fields of trade, culture and defense, according to his office.
The battle over the federal budget is dominating the talk in Washington today. CNN.com Live is there for all the latest developments.
Today's programming highlights...
9:00 am ET - House budget debate - House lawmakers will be focusing on the budget this morning when they resume their session on Capitol Hill. Senate debate resumes at 10:00 am ET.