Vice President Joe Biden will meet with a team of lawmakers from both parties Thursday at the Blair House to begin talks on trying to tame America's spiraling debt.
The U.S. deficit could reach $1.6 trillion this year.
Thursday's meeting at the government guesthouse, located right across the street from the White House, comes as the U.S. Congress begins to consider raising the debt ceiling above its current $14.3 trillion limit.
The meeting offers a chance to identify even small spending cuts that can build toward a broader agreement.
"There will be no announcement after that meeting that a deal has been reached because this is a process," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Both parties were doubtful the talks will lead to far-reaching restructuring of costly government programs like Medicare or Medicaid or to an overhaul that makes the tax system simpler but yields more revenue.
"We're at an important point here where Republicans and Democrats alike share, recognize the problem - that's important," Carney said. "They share the same end goal, which is $4 trillion in deficit reduction. And they share the same general idea of what the timeline should be, 10 to 12 years."