- (Photo: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
President Barack Obama invited congressional leaders to the White House Wednesday evening to discuss the government shutdown. No new deals were offered or suggested. Obama reiterated that he is not willing to compromise. Republican leaders insisted on negotiating modifications to the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare." The shutdown will continue with no end in sight.
After the meeting, White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement, "the president made clear to the Leaders that he is not going to negotiate over the need for Congress to act to reopen the government or to raise the debt limit to pay the bills Congress has already incurred. The president reinforced his view that the House should put the clean government funding bill that has been passed by the Senate up for a vote – a bill that would pass a majority of the House with bipartisan support."
The meeting was attended by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Though the meeting made no progress on ending the government shutdown, Carney added, "the president is glad that the leaders were able to engage in this useful discussion this evening."
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Boehner and McConnell expressed disappointment in the Democrat's unwillingness to negotiate.
"They will not negotiate. We had a nice conversation, a polite conversation. But, at some point we've got to allow the process that our Founders gave us to work out," Boehner said.
"While I appreciated the opportunity to speak directly with the president about this pressing issue, I was disappointed that he had little interest in negotiating a solution or in encouraging Senate Democrats to agree to the House request for a conference," McConnell added.
Earlier in the day, House Republicans tried to pass smaller funding measures for individual departments, but Democrats rejected that as well.
National Review's Robert Costa reported Wednesday that, behind the scenes, Boehner is working on a "grand bargain" to both resolve the government shutdown and deal with the debt limit, which federal spending is expected to hit on Oct. 17.
The bargain would supposedly give Republicans some of what they want, such as delaying parts of the ACA, eliminating the medical devices tax and entitlement reform, and Democrats some of what they want, such as delaying parts of the sequestration and additional revenue through tax reform.
A spokesperson for Boehner warned Costa, though, that currently "there's no one to bargain with."