Government shutdown: White House meeting with lawmakers goes nowhere (+video)
Both sides appeared unmoved after the White House attempt to end the government shutdown. Republicans insist federal funding be tied to changes in Obamacare. Democrats say they won’t budge.
For 90 minutes late Wednesday afternoon, the leaders of the House and Senate met with President Obama at the White House, looking to resolve a government shutdown headed into its third day while also averting what would be an even costlier default on US debt.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Shutdown! Government closed
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The meeting failed to do that, and both sides appear as intransigent as ever.
Obama "refuses to negotiate," House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio told reporters as he left the White House. "All we're asking for here is a discussion and fairness for the American people under Obamacare.”
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada said, "We're locked in tight on Obamacare" and neither the president nor Democrats in Congress will accept changes in that health-care law as the price for spending legislation needed to reopen the government.
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"If we get in the habit where a few folks, an extremist wing of one party, whether it's Democrat or Republican, are allowed to extort concessions based on a threat to undermine the full faith and credit of the United States, then any president who comes after me, not just me, will find themselves unable to govern effectively," he said.
Warnings about the impact of the government shutdown and – less than two weeks from now (Oct. 17) – the potential failure to raise the US debt limit mounted up Wednesday.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that the shutdown, together with the recent sequestration, “seriously damages our ability to protect the security and safety of this nation and its citizens.”
“This is not just a Beltway issue,” he said. “This affects our global capability."
Mr. Clapper also warned that the shutdown (which has furloughed about 70 percent of intelligence agency civilians, including thousands at the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency) “is a dreamland for foreign intelligence services to recruit.”