October 2, 2013


Emerging from a White House meeting that stretched for more than an hour, Republican and Democratic congressional leaders said that they are still at an impasse over how to end the ongoing government shutdown.

"The president reiterated one more time tonight that he will not negotiate," said Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who did not take any questions after a brief statement to reporters.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid talks about Wednesday's meeting at the White House between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders.

"We had a nice conversation, a light conversation, but at some point we've got to allow the process our founders gave us to work out," he added, saying that Senate Democrats should agree to a bipartisan "conference" to negotiate a deal that could include major changes to President Barack Obama's health care law.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid instead pushed Democrats' counter-offer to negotiate only after passing a short-term funding bill that does not contain the GOP's desired delays to Obamacare.

"What the speaker has to accept is 'yes' for an answer," he said.

Reid praised the president for standing "strong" in the negotiations. "We're through playing these little games focused on Obamacare," he said, adding that the Democrats are "locked in tight" on keeping the law in place.

Also present at the meeting were House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Vice President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. Lew was slated to brief lawmakers about the consequences of possibly defaulting on the national debt later this month.

Pelosi said that Republicans should not use support for a measure to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default as a bargaining tool.

“I’m not saying we agreed to this in the meeting, but I’m saying that for the confidence of the American people, we should take the debt ceiling debate off the table,” Pelosi said. “The United States of America will always honor the full faith and credit of our country. And no president should be held hostage to that."

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