Washington (CNN) – White House officials led by Vice President Joe Biden will meet for the first time Thursday afternoon with House and Senate leaders in both parties to begin negotiations on major differences over spending cuts, multiple sources in both parties tell CNN.
The meeting, scheduled for 4 pm ET in the Capitol, was prompted by congressional Democrats who implored the White House to get more involved in the battle with Republicans over spending.
Republican leaders in the House and Senate had been reluctant to sit down for negotiations with Democrats, saying they don’t know what their position is, since the Senate has yet to pass a spending bill to fund the government for the rest of the year.
House Republicans passed a bill cutting spending by $61 billion this year.
On the Senate floor Thursday morning, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell pushed Democrats to “present their plan.”
“We're happy to go to the meeting, but putting a meeting on the schedule doesn’t change the fact that neither the White House nor a single Democrat in Congress that would allow the government to remain open, and would respond to the voters by reigning in spending. All we get is talk,” said McConnell.
There are now two weeks to negotiate before the current stopgap measure funding the government runs out, on March 18th.