UPDATE: White House postpones meeting to allow Senate to keep talking.


President Obama summoned top congressional leaders to the White House for a midafternoon meeting Monday that could prove critical to acclerating efforts to end the crisis that has paralyzed Washington and avoid an unprecedented default on the nation’s debt.

As talks intensified over ending the government shutdown and lifting the debt ceiling, the president warned that if the standoff is not resolved by Thursday’s debt-ceiling deadline, “we stand a good chance of defaulting.” The White House said in a statement that Obama would tell congressional leaders at the 3 p.m. session that Republicans must “act to pay our bills and reopen the government.’’

The White House meeting between Obama and the top congressional leadership of both parties comes amid a variety of negotiations on Capitol Hill seeking an end to the crisis. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) held the latest 40-minute session in McConnell’s office late Monday morning, and Reid said afterward that the two were making progress but did not yet have a deal.

“We are working on everything,” he said. “We talked yesterday as everyone knows . . . and we’re continuing to work on it. It’s not done yet.”

Asked if he hoped to have a proposal to take to the White House at 3 p.m., Reid said, “Sure hope so.”

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