June 4 (Bloomberg) -- With Democrats and Republicans still at odds over federal spending and the national debt, President Barack Obama and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner will have a summit on the golf course.
Boehner, an Ohio Republican who earlier this week began pressing Obama to get more directly involved in the budget negotiations, has accepted the invitation for the June 18 round, said his spokesman, Brendan Buck.
Neither Buck nor a White House official who confirmed the invitation on condition of anonymity would say where the game would be played or whether they’ll mix business with pleasure.
Obama and Boehner both are avid golfers. Obama has played more than 60 rounds since taking office, usually with members of his staff or administration officials.
“This is about building a relationship, you ride around in a cart so they’ll be together a lot,” said former Representative Martin Frost, a Texas Democrat who said he played the most golf when he was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “So many politicians golf because it’s four hours away from everyone else and something you can play when you’re older.”
Boehner’s a very good golfer, Frost said. “The question is, is he going to spot the president some strokes?”
Vice President Joe Biden has been leading talks with representatives from both parties on steps to cutting the nation’s long-term deficits and raising the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by Aug. 2. Still, both sides have publicly stuck to their positions and given little indication that they’ve moved closer. A major dispute concerns Republican insistence that no new taxes be part of any agreement, while Democrats say increased revenue has to accompany spending cuts.
At a news conference yesterday in Washington, Boehner said that if the president wants to get an agreement by the end of this month “it’s time for him to step up and take a more active role.”
Obama and Boehner hashed out the final details of an agreement on the 2011 federal budget face-to-face at the White House in April, agreeing to about $38.5 billion in reductions with just hours to spare before a government shutdown.
--Editors: Joe Sobczyk, Don Frederick
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