House GOP, Obama at standstill over government shutdown, debt limit
Hopes for an immediate resolution of Washington’s fiscal crisis faded on Capitol Hill on Saturday as angry House of Representatives Republicans accused President Barack Obama of shutting down negotiations with them and turning to the Senate.
Congress was racing against a Thursday deadline to extend U.S. borrowing authority and as Obama ratcheted up pressure on lawmakers to end a partial government shutdown. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have been furloughed since October 1 when lawmakers failed to reach agreement to fund the government.
In a sign of intensifying negotiations in the Senate, Democratic leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell were holding talks on Saturday after a chilly period.
“Senator Reid and Senator McConnell are talking to each other for the first time and that’s good,” Republican Senator Roy Blunt told reporters.
Even if senators craft a proposal to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, at least some Republican support will be needed to pass it in the House. That support is far from guaranteed, especially if the Senate deal does not include any new attacks on Obama’s health care reform law.
After two days of House Republicans talking in positive terms about Obama and their chances for a deal, the bubble burst on Saturday.
House Republicans, after a closed meeting with their leaders, emerged angry, accusing the White House of rejecting their ideas and refusing to negotiate with them.