President Barack Obama will meet with a delegation of 18 Republicans at the White House Thursday, in what will be the most significant meeting between the two parties in the ongoing debates on funding the government and raising the nation’s debt ceiling.
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said that the Speaker will send 18 “negotiators” to the meeting.
The meeting comes amid glimmers of hope for a short-term deal that would end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling while establishing a negotiating panel on fiscal issues.
Buck said that the White House invited the entire Republican conference to the White House, but the Speaker decided it would be more prudent to send a select group of elected leaders and committee chairs.
“Nine days into a government shutdown and a week away from breaching the debt ceiling, a meeting is only worthwhile if it is focused on finding a solution,” Buck said in a statement.
“That’s why the House Republican Conference will instead be represented by a smaller group of negotiators, including the elected leadership and certain committee chairmen. It is our hope that this will be a constructive meeting and that the president finally recognises Americans expect their leaders to be able to sit down and resolve their differences.”
In a statement shortly after Boehner’s office announced the meeting, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney blasted Boehner for not sending his full conference.
“President Obama is disappointed that Speaker Boehner is preventing his members from coming to the White House,” Carney said in a statement.
“The President thought it was important to talk directly with the members who forced this economic crisis on the country about how the shutdown and a failure to pay the country’s bills could devastate the economy. The President will talk to anyone anytime and looks forward to their visit to the White House, but will not pay the Republicans ransom for doing their job. If the Republicans want to have a real discussion they should open the government and take the threat of default off the table.”
The federal government shutdown entered into its ninth full day on Wednesday, with no immediate end in sight. And Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling by Oct. 17 — eight days away — to avoid a potential default.
Here’s the full list of Republican participants:
- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
- House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy
- House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers
- Rep. Greg Walden, chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee
- Rep. James Lankford, chair of the House Republican Policy Committee
- Rep. Lynn Jenkins, conference vice chair
- Rep. Virginia Foxx, secretary of the House Republican Conference
- Rep. Steve Southerland
- Rep. Ann Wagner
- Rep. Peter Roskam
- Rep. Pete Sessions
- Rep. Paul Ryan, chair of the House Budget Committee
- Rep. Dave Camp, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means
- Rep. Fred Upton, chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce
- Rep. Hal Rogers, chair of the House Appropriations Committee
- Rep. Jeb Hensarling, chair of the House Financial Services Committee
- Rep. Buck McKeon, chair of the House Armed Services Committee
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