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Obama to Meet with Congressional Leaders

Oct. 2, 2013 - 03:45AM   |  
By DAVID JACKSON   |   Comments
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President Obama will meet with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday to discuss possible ends to the government shutdown.

Obama is expected to call on House Republicans to pass a new spending plan without any restrictions on the new health care plan.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is expected to repeat his call for a one-year delay of some provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

"We're pleased the president finally recognizes that his refusal to negotiate is indefensible," said Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck. "It's unclear why we'd be having this meeting if it's not meant to be a start to serious talks between the two parties."

A White House official familiar with the president's plans said Obama will urged Boehner and the House to pass a "clean" congressional resolution with no special health care provisions, in order to re-open the government.

Obama also plans to "call on Congress to act to raise the debt ceiling to pay the bills we have already incurred and avoid devastating consequences on our economy," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting has not yet taken place.

Boehner will be joined at the 5:30 p.m. White House conference by the Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi are also scheduled to attend the 5:30 p.m. meeting.

The partial shutdown of the government began at midnight Monday, when the Republican-run House and Democratic-run Senate failed to agree on a new spending plan.

The House has passed several versions of a spending bill that includes a delay in the health care law; Obama and Senate Democrats say that is unacceptable.

The White House meeting will also preview another looming showdown over the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling, which the Treasury Department says it will hit on Oct. 17.

Without an increase in the debt ceiling, Obama has said the government will be unable to borrow money to repay its obligations, creating a default that will harm the economy worldwide.

Obama discussed both the debt ceiling and the government shutdown in a mid-day meeting with the Financial Services Forum, a group of CEOs.

David Jackson writes for USA TODAY.

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