US Shutdown: Barack Obama steps up effort to resolve fiscal impasse
Washington: As the tit-for-tat battle between Republicans and Democrats over the US budget crisis continued, President Barack Obama has stepped up his personal engagement with Congressmen to resolve the fiscal impasse that triggered government shutdown for the first time in 17 years.
Obama, who cancelled his 10-day trip to Asia to stay at the White House and resolve the current political impasse over the budget with the Republicans, yesterday held talks with lawmakers from his own Democratic party for over an hour.
During the meeting, he told lawmakers that he would negotiate with the Republicans but "not with a gun at my head". The meeting comes as the US lurches close to an October 17 deadline to raise the government's statutory borrowing limit.
The government has been shut for nine days after lawmakers failed to pass a spending plan for the new fiscal year that started on October 1. Obama is scheduled to meet the lawmakers from Republican Party at the White House tomorrow.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama is disappointed that Speaker of the US House of Representatives John 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," Carney said.
The White House had invited the full Republican caucus to participate in a meeting with the president, but the Speaker opted to send a smaller delegation, including leadership members and committee chairmen, a Boehner aide yesterday said.
"Nine days into a government shutdown and a week away from breaching the debt ceiling, a meeting is only worthwhile if it is focused on finding a solution. That's why the House Republican Conference will instead be represented by a smaller group of negotiators, including the elected leadership and certain committee chairmen," Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said.
Meanwhile, in local television interviews, Obama blamed Republicans for the current government shutdown which entered its ninth day.