Day 2: Obama summons leaders of Congress to White House - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Day 2: Obama summons leaders of Congress to White House


President Barack Obama summoned leaders in Congress from both parties to the White House on Wednesday as the federal government shutdown entered its second day with no immediate resolution in sight.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., were set to huddle with the president at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the stalemate over legislation to fund the government, called a continuing resolution (CR).

Also set to join were Vice President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, the latter of whom was expected to brief lawmakers about the consequences of possibly defaulting on the national debt later this month.

At the meeting, Obama "will urge the House to pass the clean CR to reopen the government, and 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," a White House official said. 

A spokesman for Boehner said: "We're pleased the president finally recognizes that his refusal to negotiate is indefensible. 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."

Reid called Boehner early Wednesday afternoon ahead of the powwow -- but only to reiterate Democrats' insistence that the House GOP pass a clean extension of spending through mid-November.

The talks held hopes of jump-starting negotiations toward ending a government shutdown that stretched into its second day on Wednesday. The second day of the shutdown appeared ready to mirror the first: a day featuring photo-ops and a handful of strategic votes and rhetorical barbs traded between the parties.

"It's time for Republicans to stop throwing one crazy idea after another at the wall in hopes that something will stick," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., again urging the GOP to take up the simple, six-week extension of government spending favored by Democrats. "Right now, Republicans led by John Boehner are the only thing standing between Congress and compromise."

Meanwhile, the GOP-held House was back in session early Wednesday, planning to hold a series of votes throughout the afternoon to fund some of the most popular items impacted by the shutdown. The House was set to vote on five mini-funding bills to reinstate spending for the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Parks, the D.C. city government and funding for military reservists.

The White House said Obama would veto each of them. 

And as the impasse played out, Obama was scheduled to meet with members of the Financial Services Forum, a group of high-profile business leaders including the heads of many major banks. Those businesses would be among the most severely threatened by a default on the national debt, which will arrive Oct. 17 unless Congress acts to authorize increased borrowing, a vote tied closely into the current political standoff over funding the government.

The administration also sounded the alarm bells over the potential national security implications of the shutdown. On Capitol Hill, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said the shuttering of the government "seriously damages our ability to protect the safety and security of this nation and its citizens."

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