After an hour-long meeting, President Barack Obama and Republicans failed to agree on a plan that would extend the nation’s debt limit for a six-week period.
The New York Times initially reported that Obama had rejected Republicans’ offer of a clean, six-week debt ceiling increase because it didn’t address the government shutdown.
But both the White House and House leaders took a more optimistic tone. Both sides pledged to work throughout the night to complete a deal.
“No final decisions were made; however, it was a useful and productive conversation,” House Republicans said in a joint statement.
“The President and leaders agreed that communication should continue throughout the night. House Republicans remain committed to good faith negotiations with the president, and we are pleased there was an opportunity to sit down and begin a constructive dialogue tonight.”
House Republican leaders had unveiled a plan to extend the nation’s borrowing authority for six weeks on Thursday, provided that Obama and Democrats enter into negotiations about broader fiscal issues. But their plan does not end the ongoing government shutdown — something the White House said would be necessary for negotiations.
Prior to the meeting between Obama and the Republican leaders, Senate Majority Harry Reid said that negotiations among the parties before the government shutdown ended was “not going to happen.”
Republicans left the White House without making comments to reporters Thursday night. Once back on Capitol Hill, they reportedly did not look happy. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told reporters, however, that the talks were “constructive” and that they would continue Thursday evening.
“The president didn’t say yes, didn’t say no. We’re continuing to negotiate this evening,” Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, told reporters.
The White House characterised the meeting as “good,” but said that no specific determinations about a path forward were made.
The full readout from the White House:
The President had a good meeting with members of the House Republican Leadership this evening; the meeting lasted approximately an hour and a half. The President, along with the Vice President, Treasury Secretary Lew, Denis McDonough and Rob Nabors listened to the Republicans present their proposal. After a discussion about potential paths forward, no specific determination was made. The President looks forward to making continued progress with members on both sides of the aisle. The President’s goal remains to ensure we pay the bills we’ve incurred, reopen the government and get back to the business of growing the economy, creating jobs and strengthening the middle class.
The meeting among Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and 18 House Republican leaders lasted more than an hour, the White House said.
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