Republican and Democratic leaders came out of a big meeting at the White House without any visible progress in talks over the ongoing government shutdown and the upcoming need to raise the nation’s borrowing limit.
Both sides came out of the meeting with the exact same positions they’ve had all along. With no solution and with both chambers adjourning for the night, it’s on to Day 3 of the federal government shutdown.
“The one thing we made clear — we are locked in tight on Obamacare,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters outside the White House.
House Speaker John Boehner was the first leader to come out of the meeting. He made a short statement, said that President Barack Obama reiterated he would not negotiate, and left without taking questions.
Reid and House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi came out after Boehner, and they attempted to pin the blame on him for not being willing to put the Senate’s so-called “clean” continuing resolution on the House floor.
“I can only conclude that they wanted to shut down government,” Pelosi said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who attended the meeting, did not talk to reporters afterward.
Pelosi also called for a debate over raising the debt ceiling to be taken off the table in the discussions.
“Closing the government is bad,” she said. Combining that with a potential default on U.S. obligations, she added, is “cataclysmic.”
But there’s seemingly no end in sight for either budget battle. Earlier on Wednesday, Reid made Boehner an offer to go to conference on a long-term budget if the House passed the “clean” continuing resolution to open the government. Boehner rejected the offer.
The House, meanwhile, passed a series of piecemeal bills that would reopen certain, more popular parts of the government. Democrats have rejected a piecemeal approach, and Obama threatened a veto.
Meanwhile, Obama gave an interview to CNBC, where he described himself as “exasperated” over the constant “governing by crisis.” He also said that Wall Street should be concerned, this time, over the gridlock in Washington.
“I think this time’s different. I think they should be concerned,” Obama said.
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