Continued from page 1

Several hours later, the White House announced that Mr. Obama had called Mr. Boehner, and they talked about a path forward.

Mr. Reid said Mr. Obama needs to get more involved in the negotiations.

“I think they should be involved more, and I think they will be,” he said, adding that he wants the president to talk to Americans more concretely about the programs Republicans would cut in their quest to get spending under control.

The House debate was punctuated by Democrats’ charges that cutting spending could halt the slow economic recovery and by Republicans’ claims that the deficit demands immediate action.

Both sides engaged in some dissembling.

House Democrats repeatedly blasted Republicans for agreeing to only a two-week extension, saying it doesn’t offer the stability that businesses and federal agencies need. But when they controlled all the levers of power last year, Democrats passed one two-week funding bill and another four-day funding bill.

Meanwhile, Republicans said they are open to more cutting, but they refused to allow an amendment by Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington, the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, that would have recaptured $1 billion in unspent money at the U.S. Census Bureau and used $577 million to restore education funding while putting the rest to deficit reduction.

Republicans did say they invited Mrs. Pelosi to offer her own spending freeze as an alternative amendment on the House floor, but she did not do so.