White House Meeting Ends Without Progress on Ending Shutdown

Debt ceiling begins to take center stage

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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

House Speaker John Boehner speaks to members of the media after meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on Oct. 2, 2013

Congressional leaders emerged from a meeting with President Barack Obama on Wednesday evening admitting they had made no progress on ending the two-day-long government shutdown, and pointing fingers as to which party is to blame for the political stalemate on Capitol Hill.

“The meeting was cordial but unproductive,” Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said in a written statement after the meeting.

Speaker of the House John Boehner told reporters outside the West Wing that the President reiterated to him and McConnell that he would not negotiate over delaying or defunding Obamacare as part of a deal to reopen the government. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said the GOP keeps “moving the goalposts” on a budget deal, warning of a “beyond cataclysmic” threat if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling in two weeks.

Democrats’ focus on the debt limit is the latest indication that the two fiscal crises are quickly blending together, and that the shutdown will only end when Congress and the White House reach agreement on both funding the government and raising the borrowing cap.

(MORE: House Moves Towards Supporting Backpay for Federal Employees)

Boehner criticized Senate majority leader Harry Reid for failing to appoint negotiators on a short-term government-funding measure to work out differences between the House and Senate budget bills. “I would hope that the President and my Democratic colleagues in the Senate would listen to the American people and sit down and have a serious discussion about resolving these differences,” he said after the meeting. The House funding measure would delay the individual mandate in Obamacare for a year, while the Senate has passed a “clean” bill that would fund the government with no strings attached.

Pelosi and Reid returned fire, saying Boehner is rejecting efforts to engage in negotiations on a long-term budget. The debt ceiling is “staring us in the face, and all he wants to do is talk about a short-term continuing resolution,” said Reid. “We are through playing these little games that are all focused on Obamacare.”

In a written statement issued after the meeting, the White House said, “The President reinforced his view that the House should put the clean government-funding bill that has been passed by the Senate up for a vote — a bill that would pass a majority of the House with bipartisan support. The House could act today to reopen the government, and stop the harm this shutdown is causing to the economy and families across the country.”

The White House then turned to a looming fight over the debt ceiling. “The President remains hopeful that common sense will prevail, and that Congress will not only do its job to reopen the government, but also act to pay the bills it has racked up and spare the nation from a devastating default,” reads the statement. “The President is glad that the leaders were able to engage in this useful discussion this evening.”

Also presaging the coming battle over the debt limit, in an interview with CNBC after the meeting, McConnell said raising the debt limit without concessions from Democrats is “unacceptable.”

(MORE: What’s a Furlough?: TIME Explains Government Shutdown Buzzwords)

“While I appreciated the opportunity to speak directly with the President about this pressing issue, I was disappointed that he had little interest in negotiating a solution or in encouraging Senate Democrats to agree to the House request for a conference,” McConnell added in his statement.

Boehner described the roughly 80-minute meeting as “a nice conversation, a polite conversation,” while Pelosi called their discussions “candid,” adding that it was “worthwhile” for Obama to summon them all to the White House.

In a statement after the White House meeting, Boehner criticized the White House’s veto threat on narrow funding measures to reopen popular government functions. “There’s nothing ‘piecemeal’ about making sure Americans have access to all of their national parks, or continuing life-saving cancer research,” he said. “Instead of threatening to veto these bills as part of a scorched-earth strategy, the President should back them just as he did our military-pay bill. We will pass additional emergency measures in the coming days as we wait for President Obama and Senate Democrats to drop their refusal to negotiate.”

205 comments
RitaThomas
RitaThomas

Be fare towards the whole US! Jet ride of all the insurance and go with what Canada is doing! It covers everyone and fare for all! Win Win for everyone, everyone pays and it works for all! So our country can all get back to work now!

farmer
farmer

Everyone first needs to stop playing the blame game. This includes the politicians, the media, and folks who comment here. Secondly, the Republicans need to recognize they made their point, but the Senate can't back down because the President has veto power and they can't override it. It was painful to watch how Obama handled Syria and equally painful to see the Republicans handle this. Nobody knows the results of Obamacare and it's time to stop pretending anyone does.

Bring it on and deal with it as it unfolds.

BarryButtBoy
BarryButtBoy

Blacks suffer because they do dumb things..it is their own fault too. They drop out of school, they have babies they can't afford to raise and the fathers run away. So you do dumb  things you pay the price but I see no reason at all why we should accept another 50 years like the past 50 years, when we see other minorities blow by them like they are standing still. Maybe the blacks should follow the white or asian examples and dump the black culture thing that has siuceeded at failing.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

He may have Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck on his side, but as the government shutdown he largely caused drags on, Ted Cruz is finding himself increasingly unpopular among his Republican colleagues in the Senate.

According to Politico, Cruz spent a closed-door lunch meeting on Wednesday defending himself against charges from his fellow Republican senators of being a reckless self-promoter with no plan to resolve the government shutdown his grandstanding and behind-the-scenes lobbying largely inspired.

“It was very evident to everyone in the room that Cruz doesn’t have a strategy,” one Republican senator who attended the meeting told Politico. “He never had a strategy, and could never answer a question about what the end-game was.”

“I just wish,” the senator continued, “the 35 House members that have bought the snake oil that was sold could witness what was witnessed today at lunch.”

At one point, Cruz was asked if he would disown the attacks on other Senate Republicans emanating from the Senate Conservatives Fund, an outside group that had devoted itself to criticizing Republicans who didn’t go along with Ted Cruz’s anti-Obamacare gambit. “I will not,” said Cruz, according to Politico.

http://www.salon.com/2013/10/03/gop_senators_attack_ted_cruz/

Bullsgt
Bullsgt

We should call for a vote of no confidence in our current representatives. None (or most) of them seem to care about the common citizen. 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

When Hastert, Amey and Nordquist thinks you have gone too far, its time to move one. Grow some balls Boehner and stand up to the 30 Tea Party terrorists holding the country hostage.

seizeabe
seizeabe

What have we become since John Boehner became the speaker of the house?

We have become a 3rd world country!

Nothing worthwhile has been accomplished by the house!

They've obstructed jobs, healthcare and any basic thing for the ordinary citizens.

They've advanced everything for the rich..... Bailouts, tax-cuts... Everything!

Poor and ordinary citizens have suffered .... Incomes, wealth!

Healthcare, education, living costs have all become unaffordable for the citizen.

50 million poor cannot afford health-insurance and are in poverty.

The rich increased their income and wealth 250% to 400%!

"Stateless income", tax havens and secret accounts abroad, and 10% tax here!

The spending has gone unaffordable because...

2 unfunded GOP wars...

Tax-cuts while the country still had debts...

Where was the GOP when they brought the country to crisis for 2000 to 2008?

GOP created this, and now they're trying to act holier-than-thou!

rohit57
rohit57

Perhaps the Republicans are facing the same problem which Obama faced with Snowden and Syria, namely how to climb down from the pole which you climbed up on in a moment of foolishness.    Putin helped Obama in both instances but is he willing to help the Republicans, and would they even accept his help (smile)?

I suspect that many Republicans are ready to concede defeat, but admitting defeat means losing face and credibility.  And they do not have the same option that Obama had, namely to just not do anything and hope that people will forget how foolishly you acted.

lever93
lever93

The issue is not whether you support ObamaCare or not; the point is a small number of extremists in the House cannot be allowed to hold the entire country hostage because they disagree with one law. And it is a law, not a bill. If they are able to force negotiations it negates the last election and the entire concept of Democracy. Conservatives might like that idea now but they won't if far left Democrats are able to use it against them in the future in the increasingly unlikely event they are able to win the presidency. Can they see this is all totally undemocratic?

dectra
dectra

Maybe at the next meeting they can inject Bohener with a Spine....

RonRobinson
RonRobinson

Republicans acknowledge they don't control the Senate or White House, but the Democrats are in denial that the Republicans control the House of Representatives. It is unreasonable to expect the Republicans to fund Obamacare. Time for the White House to give an exemption to the American people like he has given 1,000 exemptions to his big donors and special interests. 

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

The only people not listening to the American people are you right GOP Teapbublikan extortionistic tea baggers.

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

Boehner -  “I would hope that the President and my Democratic colleagues in the Senate would listen to the American people and sit down and have a serious discussion about resolving these differences,” he said after the meeting. The House funding measure would delay the individual mandate in Obamacare for a year, while the Senate has passed a “clean” bill that would fund the government with no strings attached.

"...the American people..." translation, the 22% of the tea party constituents.

McConnell - “While I appreciated the opportunity to speak directly with the President about this pressing issue, I was disappointed that he had little interest in negotiating a solution or in encouraging Senate Democrats to agree to the House request for a conference,”

The president is not negotiating while the GOP and the Teapublikans are trying to extort legislation that has already become law and found constitutional by the Supreme Court.

Boehner - “There’s nothing ‘piecemeal’ about making sure Americans have access to all of their national parks, or continuing life-saving cancer research,” he said. “Instead of threatening to veto these bills as part of a scorched-earth strategy, the President should back them just as he did our military-pay bill. We will pass additional emergency measures in the coming days as we wait for President Obama and Senate Democrats to drop their refusal to negotiate.”

It's YOUR scorched earth tactics Mr. Speaker.  Since the President has said not to extortion you now want to cherry pick legislation.  You and your Teapublikans will approve everything except the ACA. 

Talk about transparent and disingenuous!


 

conmaggot
conmaggot

There are enough ordinary Republicans and Democrats to pass the funding resolution. Boehner is afraid of the Tea Party taking away his job as Speaker so he won't allow the whole House to vote. Once the Tea Party permits it, Boehner will allow the House to vote.

Boehner has thrown 800,000 federal employees out of their jobs so he can keep his job. 

How's that for cowardice?

BorisIII
BorisIII

Since the rich don't care if the poor die off so they can hopefully save more tax money.  Why shouldn't the poor vote to tax the rich more.  Like raising minimum wage or lower sales taxes by taxing the rich more.

reallife
reallife

@mantisdragon91 "as the government shutdown he largely caused drags on, Ted Cruz is finding himself increasingly unpopular among his Republican colleagues in the Senate."


That's a good sign, keep going Ted Cruz, we're with you




rohit57
rohit57

@BullsgtThe trouble is that the Republican voters would like to vote out the Democratic members of Congress.

And the Democratic voters would like to vote out the Republican members of Congress.

Don't you understand this simple fact that there is no "We" who should call for a vote of no confidence?

Personally I think the Republicans are wrong, but the Democrats are too arrogant.  Basically it is a matter of the blue states telling the red states how to run their affairs.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@doriangrey_grey The only dictator I see is the GOP. Seems they still want to force their policies down our throats despite losing two national elections.

rohit57
rohit57

@lever93 The difficulty is that it is major major law which radically changes our health care system.  And it was enacted with no Republican support at all.  It merely happened that the Democrats controlled Congress and the White House for a short period and they took advantage.  It was sheer arrogance.


I am a supporter of a single payer system and I have NO idea whether ACA is good or bad.  Democrats will say it is good and Republicans will say it is bad, but that gives me no information, it is mere party loyalty.


I do think that politically the Republicans will lose.  That won't decide the question of whether ACA is good or bad.  But it will tell us that the Republicans are poor strategists.  They were outsmarted by the Democrats just as in another context, Obama was outsmarted by Putin.

tom.litton
tom.litton

@RonRobinson It's unreasonable to expect democrats not to fund Obamacare.  Where do you think this will end?

MrObvious
MrObvious

@RonRobinson 

Again - for the slow to understand.

You negotiate bills. Some times you win, sometimes you lose. Sometimes you find an amicable middle ground. That's how a democratic system works. Then you pay the bills without drama.

Don't blame everyone for something the teabillies don't understand. Feel free to educate them but we don't need to understand what teabillies don't seem to get.

In a democracy there are winners and losers. Win political power, become a winner. Lose political power, deal with it and cooperate. But when the bills comes due we uphold the full faith of our currency. We're not shirkers or losers.

And please don't trot out the tired 'Amurikan people'. When 70%+ think it's stupid to shut down the government because of Obamacare then you don't have the 'Amurikan people' behind you. What you have is a sliver of ignorant know nothings trying to force their idea of 'the Amurikan people' on the rest of the citizenry. And no thanks. I like a fully functional and just society. I don't like to cow-tow to every single phobia that crawls up some fanatics rear end.

grape_crush
grape_crush

 @RonRobinson It is unreasonable to expect the Republicans to fund Obamacare.

It's already funded; it's the other parts of government that are currently being impacted by withholding funding. The GOP is not paying border patrol officers, for example, because they don't like Obamacare, which is unrelated.

They can't get the ACA repealed legislatively or invalidated in court, so they've decided to take American economic well-being hostage if their ideologically-driven demands aren't met.

> ...he has given 1,000 exemptions to his big donors and special interests. 

You mean like the exemption requested by and given to Congress? Or what about businesses like McDonald's?


BobDevaughn
BobDevaughn

@RonRobinson 

The House passed Obamacare.

Just like citizens don't get line item veto on taxes, the House of Representatives doesn't get line item veto over what parts of the government it wishes to fund.

I agree, lets fix the budget- defund the NSA, the Defense Department, defund the tax subsidies we give to huge corporations.


From a budgetary perspective, choosing the ACA as the piece of government not to fund is arbitrary.

From a policy perspective, it is a clearly partisan choice.


tommyudo
tommyudo

@rohit57 @Bullsgt 

There is a solution, although difficult. Let the deep red states secede. States like Texas are eventually going to be blue, it's a demographic reality. It's slowly happening in VA. However, you can have, MS, OK, Idaho, Utah, WY, SC, and the rest of the trash that accept more dough from the feds than most blue states. The red states hog the federal trough.

Bullsgt
Bullsgt

@rohit57 @MrObvious  

This goes beyond our two party system. Our politicians only act in their best interest and the interest of those groups that contribute and keep them in office.  By having this childish standoff they prove just how out of touch they are. I personally have zero confidence in the ability of our government to act in the best interest of our country.  

tom.litton
tom.litton

@rohit57 @lever93 The solution is simple.  Wait.  If it's a bad law, people will get angry and vote for those that will repeal (or modify) it.  If it's a good law, people will be satisfied.

It is a major law, but i wouldn't call it radical.   It isn't as if it fundamentally changed health insurance in america.  In fact it was designed not to do that.   It simply requires health insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions in exchange for requiring people to get health insurance (along with subsidies to the poor helping them do so).  

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@rohit57"The difficulty is that it is major major law which radically changes our health care system.  And it was enacted with no Republican support at all."

First of all, there's no radical change in our health care system, just more people with quality health insurance. Second, the ACA is a Republican health care access solution developed by the Heritage Foundation and implemented first by Republican Mitt Romney in Massachusetts. Finally, President Obama hasn't had any Republican support on anything; they decided upon his election that their sole purpose was to undermine and defeat him. The difficulty is that a good part of the nation's business is affected by flat-out traitors.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

@rohit57 @lever93 

"Republicans will lose"

theoretically possible a truly democratic option: congressmen-Republicans refuse to receive the salary, together with officials, until agreement is reached with the administration. It is in the tradition of «hunger-strike» honest fighters for justice. They get their salary from the state budget, and if they don't like him, can thus to show his attitude toward it. Such an act as legislators would cause the sympathy of Americans. However, it was not there. «The fighters for the idea of» preferred to bring the situation to a paralysis of the state, while maintaining their income. This American democracy all, as on a palm.

reallife
reallife

@MrObvious @RonRobinson  "Again - for the slow to understand."  

dont waste your time - they already got their obamaphone - they're happy


rohit57
rohit57

@BobDevaughn @RonRobinson You are pretty partisan yourself.  Our social spending exceeds the defense spending by a LOT!   But you do not mention the excessive social spending, especially Medicaid and Medicare.

I do agree with you that the defense budget is bloated.  But that is because America insists on minding everyone else's business and you cannot do that without a lot of money spent on what is euphemistically called defense.

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

@rohit57 @AlphaJuliette How do you justify the extortion of 22% of the population on the majority of Americans for a bill that was passed into law and deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court?

MrObvious
MrObvious

@rohit57 @AlphaJuliette 

Representative Democracy?

Isn't it funny that some of the governors that swore up and down that they wouldn't attack unions or do this and that are now doing this and that and voters hate it?

Look - remember the saying - fool me once?

Being a doosh might give you political power but act like one and you're out. Now people see the consequence of asking the wolf to guard the sheep. 

anon76
anon76

@rohit57

The 2010 duping that will be adjusted for in 2014.

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

@RonRobinson @AlphaJuliette Sorry if I've offended you Mr. Ron but do you see any evidence where respect and consideration has worked with the Tea Party extremists in Congress?  The answer, of course, is no.

They obviously have no regard for political tactics that are harmful to either the nation or their own party.  So, I'm not too concerned about being nice, considerate or especially politically correct in my commentary while my country is being held hostage by 22% of the population.

dectra
dectra

@RonRobinson @AlphaJuliette  

Agreed, Ron. However, the fact the GOP/ TeaParty has engineered this debacle with no clear exit straegy shows a decided lack of political skill or any pretense of leadership.

The TeaParty came to Washington just to destroy, not to govern. They got their wish, and 800,000 people are out of work as a result.


Congrats,,........or something.

 

rohit57
rohit57

@shepherdwong @rohit57 I know all these things - you are just repeating the Democrats' talking points without mentioning a single thing in the other direction.

I DO agree that the Republicans have badly misjudged the situation.  But you do, I am sorry to say, sound like a partisan since you mention only the evidence in one direction.


MrObvious
MrObvious

@reallife @MrObvious @RonRobinson 

The teabillies got their Obamaphone?

We know. They are usually the ones benefiting from Federal programs while wanting to deny everyone else that same benefit.

BobDevaughn
BobDevaughn

@rohit57 @BobDevaughn @RonRobinson I was mentioning clearly partisan choices for programs to defund to make the point that you could just as easily (and arbitrarily) pursue defunding parts of government based on Liberal priorities- but that is not what is happening here.

rohit57
rohit57

@AlphaJuliette @rohit57 It was passed without any Republican support and it was just barely allowed by the constitution.   It passed, but with a C-.

rohit57
rohit57

@anon76 @rohit57 I have no more interest in Democrats' predictions about 2014  than I have about the Republicans's predictions.

Parties have won and parties have lost.  No party is in power forever so hubris is out of place.


tom.litton
tom.litton

@rohit57 @dectra @RonRobinson @AlphaJuliette I don't see how it makes sense.  Do they really think Obama would ever ever give up ACA?  Especially since he gets absolutely nothing in trade?  How do they envision this ending?  How do you envision this ending?

Even if defunding Obamacare was a possibility, it only makes sense if they care more about repealing Obamacare then about the american economy, people's jobs, and the deficit.  Do you really think most republican's would give up those 3 in order to repeal Obamacare?

anon76
anon76

@rohit57

"No the debacle was engineered long ago by the Democrats when they passed ACA without Republican support."

That is absolute and utter bull$h!t.

The bill is largely modeled on the (severely conservative) Heritage Fund's concepts of Individual Mandates & Exchange Marketplaces, which were proposed by the Republican group as far back as the 1980's.  Legislation resembling the ACA was first introduced by Republican Senator John Chaffee in 1993.  The eventual ACA also closely resembles the Republican bill that Gov. Romney proposed and enacted in Massachusetts.  During debate on the ACA,  Senator Baucus repeatedly slowed down deliberation on the legislation so that his committee could obtain Republican input.  However, the Republican delegation to the Senate whipped Olympia Snowe in line and  made united opposition to Obama their highest priority in order to ensure he remained a one-term president.  Similar tactics in the house ensured that (with the principled exception of Joseph Cao) there was no Republican support there, either.

In summary, the Democrats proposed a Republican solution to the Healthcare problem, bent over backwards to try and get Republican support, and were eventually forced to pass this Republican law without any Republican votes.

I'm sorry, but if you put partisan gain ahead of doing your job to craft legislation, you don't get to later complain that you were left out of the process.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@rohit57 @dectra @RonRobinson @AlphaJuliette 

Who gives a shiat. If the electorate saw fit that Obamacare should be repealed they'd given them the Senate in 2010 and everything else in 2012. Instead they voted for the guy who is the namesake of it - Obama. Twice.

This is not a question about having to suffer a bill in a democratic system, this is about not being a sore loser and paying for it once the bill comes due. That's how it works. And if this country don't like Obamacare then it'll give GOP the power to change that.

Since it hasn't I suggest that all the hewing and hemming about what happened when the bill passes is absolutely irrelevant. We've heard all the arguments and people still voted for 2012. They didn't vote for magic unicorn tax cuts Mitt. They voted for the guy that said we should pay more taxes and embrace Obamacare.

Take it or leave it but that's how a democracy works. That doesn't imply that you are right or wrong but that's the consequence of democracy. 

rohit57
rohit57

@dectra @RonRobinson @AlphaJuliette No the debacle was engineered long ago by the Democrats when they passed ACA without Republican support.   It was inevitable that the Republicans would refuse to pay the bill for ACA.

The Republicans will probably lose this fight but what they are doing makes perfect sense from their point of view.