Congressional leaders will meet at 5:30 p.m. with the president at the White House two days into the partial government shutdown.
President Barack Obama invited Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, according to a White House official.
"The president will urge the House to pass the clean (continuing resolution) 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," the
The talks are the first face to face meeting since the government shutdown began at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.
"Just yesterday, the president reaffirmed that he would not negotiate with Congress, and Senate Democrats actually voted not to negotiate," McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said. "So frankly, we’re a little confused as to the purpose of this meeting. If the President wants to sit on the sidelines during this critical debate and is serious about Congress finding a solution, then he will urge Senate Democrats to agree to the request by the House of Representatives to convene a conference committee."
Obama was briefed by his senior staff Tuesday morning about the shutdown, but had not spoken to congressional leaders since Monday evening before the closure.
“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," Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said.