White House: ‘Listening And Talking’ With Republicans, But Not Negotiating

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Susan Walsh / AP

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

After two days of meetings with congressional Republicans, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that President Barack Obama is not negotiating with the GOP.

“We’re listening and we’re talking,” said Carney, who refused to elaborate on whether those talks involved an exchange of proposals. But the discussions were “constructive,” he added, saying “it at least looks like there’s a possibility of making some progress here.”

In a long-delayed press briefing after Obama spoke with Speaker of the House John Boehner on Friday afternoon, Carney said that Obama’s position against negotiating to raise the debt limit has not changed. “What I would say is that our position hasn’t changed, our position that there is no ransom that can be paid,” he said with respect to the borrowing cap.

But Carney indicated that Obama’s opposition to negotiating while the government is shut down may be softening. “He’s willing to look at any proposal,” Carney said, when asked whether Obama would consider repealing the medical device tax, a component of Obamacare opposed by Republicans and some Democrats.