GOP offers dueling plans
House and Senate Republicans offered competing plans Thursday to resolve Washington’s debt-limit and government shutdown crises, as President Obama held the latest in a series of meetings aimed at persuading them to accept at least short-term solutions with no partisan strings attached.
The White House described President Obama’s conversation Thursday afternoon with House Republican leaders as a “good meeting,” but said no deal was reached to reopen the government.
“After a discussion about potential paths forward, no specific determination was made,” the White House said in a statement to reporters. “The President looks forward to making continued progress with members on both sides of the aisle.”
Obama’s meeting with about 20 House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner, lasted about 90 minutes. Obama was accompanied by Vice President Biden, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors. The White House statement said the administration officials “listened to the Republicans present their proposal,” adding that Obama’s goal remains to both raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government.
House Republican leaders initially offered a six-week increase in the federal debt ceiling in exchange for negotiations with President Obama on longer-term “pressing problems,” but they stopped short of agreeing to end a government shutdown now in its 10th day.
Later in the day, Senate Republicans put forward a plan that would reopen the government and raise the federal debt limit for as long as three months.
Returning to the Capitol after meeting with Obama at the White House, members of a 20-strong House Republican delegation described the session as a good first step.
The White House denied a news report that Obama had rejected the House GOP’s proposal outright, saying that “no specific determination was made” after Obama, Vice President Biden and top officials listened to the presentation.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the gathering was “a very useful meeting” and indicated that conversations would continue into the evening.
“It was clarifying, I think, for both sides as to where we are,” he said.