The meeting between President Barack Obama and his chief Washington nemesis, House of Representatives Republicans, is later today, but the terse statements were already flying Wednesday.
"House Republicans have shown repeatedly over the last few weeks, in plan after plan, that we are willing to negotiate," said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas.
"After continually refusing to negotiate – both in public comments and in private meetings – I am hopeful that President Obama has invited House Republicans to the White House tomorrow because he wishes to have a serious discussion aimed at finding solutions to our nation’s debt crisis, not to reiterate his refusal to negotiate and to demand we rubber stamp his spending and borrowing plan.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had a similar message.
“For nine days, President Obama and Senate Democrats have refused to negotiate while the government has been shut down. For nine days, the House has passed bipartisan bills to open critical parts of our government and provide relief to those being impacted. In divided government, the American people understand that no two sides will agree on everything, but they expect us to work together," Cantor said.
"It’s time for the President to put partisan politics aside, sit down and start working with us. I look forward to meeting with President Obama tomorrow, and hope we can have a substantive discussion and find a meaningful way forward to ensure fairness for all Americans under Obamacare and responsibly tackle our nation’s debt and spending crisis. Let’s not waste any more time.”
The White House got in a dig of its own. Obama had invited all Republicans, but only 17 will attend, all leaders in the House.
Spokesman Jay Carney said Obama was "disappointed that Speaker Boehner is preventing his members from coming to the White House. The president thought it was important to talk directly with the members who forced this economic crisis on the country about how the shutdown and a failure to pay the country's bills could devastate the economy."