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STALEMATE SUMMIT BRINGS NO PROGRESS ON GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

After more than an hour of meeting with President Obama, congressional leaders emerged Wednesday evening with little to show for the effort.

House Speaker John Boehner told reporters shortly before 7:00 that the president ‘reiterated one more time tonight he will not negotiate’ over GOP demands.

‘We had a nice conversation – a polite conversation – but at some point we’ve got to let the process that our founders gave us work out,’ the Ohio Republican said.

The office of the White House press secretary issued a statement an hour later, confirming that Obama ‘is not going to negotiate over the need for Congress to act to reopen the government or to raise the debt limit to pay the bills Congress has already incurred.’

‘The President remains hopeful that common sense will prevail,’ the White House added.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said President Obama has continued to reject Republicans' entreaties to negotiate over his healthcare law as a condition of ending the government shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said President Obama has continued to reject Republicans’ entreaties to negotiate over his healthcare law as a condition of ending the government shutdown

Alone: House Speaker John Boehner faces an intransigent White House, Senate Democrats who won't meet unless he first waves a white flag, and sanators from his own party who aren't numerous enough to help

Alone: House Speaker John Boehner faces an intransigent White House, Senate Democrats who won’t meet unless he first waves a white flag, and sanators from his own party who aren’t numerous enough to help

Boehner’s agenda has dominated Washington for days, since it’s his chamber’s Republican majority who are gripping the federal government’s checkbook tightly while they insist on changes to the Obamacare health insurance overhaul law.

‘All we are asking for here is a discussion and fairness for the American people under Obamacare,’ he said Wednesday outside the White House.

He and Obama were joined for the high-level meeting by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joe Biden.

A White House press pool reporter said that there had been ‘talk around the press office that Obama would come out and give a statement on his meeting with congressional leaders, but that will not be happening.’

Reid, the Senate Democrat who became the subject of unwelcome buzz Wednesday afternoon when he refused to entertain a proposal to fund children’s cancer research while the larger shutdown question was debated, said the president remained ‘strong, strong, strong.’

‘One thing we made very clear in that meeting,’ Reid said: ‘We are locked in tight on Obamacare. We just want to open the government.’

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the discussion in the White House was 'candid,' but wouldn't elaborate

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the discussion in the White House was ‘candid,’ but wouldn’t elaborate

'Locked in on Obamacare': Reid said the president was unwavering, and the White House reiterated that he's unwilling to negotiate away any features of his signature health insurance overhaul law

‘Locked in on Obamacare': Reid said the president was unwavering, and the White House reiterated that he’s unwilling to negotiate away any features of his signature health insurance overhaul law

Pelosi declined to discuss the details of what was expected to be a heated discussion in the Oval Office.

‘It was a worthwhile meeting,’ she said. ‘I’m glad we held it. We had some, shall we say, candid discussion, but we won’t get into that.’

McConnell, the top Senate Republican, did not speak.

 

Jay Carney suggested one reason Obama was meeting with lawmakers is because he is ‘a man of his word,’ and was fulfilling a promise to sit down and talk even if no headway was made Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck leveled fighting words at the president earlier in the day, suggesting that Obama’s invitation was a sign that support for his position is crumbling.

‘We’re pleased the president finally recognizes that his refusal to negotiate is indefensible,’ Buck said a few hours before the meeting.

Jay Carney suggested one reason Obama was meeting with lawmakers is because he is 'a man of his word,' and was fulfilling a promise to sit down and talk even if no headway was made

Jay Carney suggested one reason Obama was meeting with lawmakers is because he is ‘a man of his word,’ and was fulfilling a promise to sit down and talk even if no headway was made

‘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.’

Buck told MailOnline after congressional leaders left the White House that he wouldn’t be releasing a post-meeting statement.

In his Wednesday afternoon briefing with reporters, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney fended off questions about why Obama was holding the high-level meeting when the sides seemed to be irreconcilable.

‘Look,’ he said, ‘the president said – and he is true to his word – that he would be having conversations with the leaders of the Congress about the essential need to keep the government open. Or, now, in this case, to reopen the government.’

Obama had attracted criticism in recent days for failing to meet with the Republican opposition.

Carney also suggested that the president has stayed in the background because political conservatives were too busy fighting an internecine civil war with more moderate Republicans.

‘What we’ve seen over the past 10 days is the Republicans being quite involved with their own internal politics and with digressions in the Senate,’ he said, ‘and dictates from one body to the other about what the proper course of action should be.’

But Carney reiterated that the president ‘will not negotiate. He will not offer concessions to Republicans in exchange for not tanking the economy.’

Congressional Democrats have also caught flak for refusing to meet GOP representatives in a so-called ‘conference committee’ – a bipartisan group from both houses of Congress who are often tasked with ironing out their parties’ legislative differences.

House Republicans staged a photo-op Wednesday in which they lined up on one side of a conference table and demonstrated that Democrats were nowhere in sight.

Sen. Reid, however, has insisted that he would send a delegation to a conference committee, but only after House Republicans concede the fight and resume funding the federal government.

‘He said that he wanted to go to conference,’ Reid said Wednesday night, referring to Boehner. ‘He sent us something from the House, so I thought we would throw him a lifeline.’

‘I said, “Fine, we’ll go to conference. All we want you to do is open the government.” … We’ll talk about anything you want to talk about. And he says no.’

ht:dailymail

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