President Barack Obama and a delegation of House Republicans concluded a lengthy meeting at the White House on Thursday afternoon without an agreement on how to raise the debt limit or reopen the government, but both sides described the summit as a positive step toward resolving a crisis that has bedeviled negotiators.
Obama and top White House officials met with 20 House Republicans, led by Speaker of the House John Boehner, for some 90 minutes in the Roosevelt Room in an attempt to plot a solution to the twin fiscal crises. According to the White House, Obama “listened to the Republicans present their proposal. After a discussion about potential paths forward, no specific determination was made.”
House Republican aides described the meeting as a useful conversation, and noted that Obama neither rejected the emerging House Republican proposal to extend the U.S. borrowing authority for roughly six weeks, nor did he accept it.
“This evening in the Roosevelt Room, the leaders laid out the House proposal to temporarily extend the debt limit, formally appoint budget negotiators, and begin immediate discussions over how to reopen the government,” House Republicans said in a statement. “No final decisions were made; however, it was a useful and productive conversation. 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.”
“It’s a good sign we’ve finally got Obama talking,” said another House Republican aide.
Both sides are expected to continue working Thursday night toward a strategy to lift the debt ceiling by the Oct. 17 deadline set forth by the Treasury Department.