Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Washington: As the US government shutdown entered third day on Thursday, there was no solution in sight even after President Barack Obama met Congressional leaders at White House and made it clear that he won’t negotiate until the government is reopened and the debt ceiling increased.
The statements by the White House and the US House Speaker John Boehner provided after the closed door meeting at White House, only highlighted the divide that remains intact between Democrats and Republicans over how to solve the shutdown deadlock.
After the meeting, the White house said in a statement, “"The President made clear to the leaders that he 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".
Criticizing the President’s adamancy, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters at the White House, "The president said one more time that he will not negotiate. All we`re asking for here is a discussion and fairness for the American people under Obamacare”.
Boehner also remained firm on including delay in healthcare law as a part of the new spending bill whereas Obama, who said he was “exasperated” with the shutdown, urged House Republicans to pass a new funding plan which doesn’t attach any limits or delay on the Obamacare.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also said that the Democratic-led chamber will negotiate with House Republicans on health care and other issues only after they re-open the government.
Boehner "cannot take yes for an answer," Reid told reporters at the White House.
"It just has never happened before where a political party would be willing to take the country to the brink of financial disaster and say we`re not going to allow us to pay our bills," Reid said.
"All we have to do is bring it up, pass it in the House. It comes to the president`s desk. Government is open. Then we go to the table, as the leader suggests, on the budget, and some of that discussion can be helpful in terms of addressing growth, deficit reduction and how we go forward on the debt ceiling," Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic Leader said.
The meeting even if inconclusive, was termed as worthwhile and polite by both the Democrats and the Republicans.
The US government was shutdown on Monday midnight after the Congress failed to reach an agreement on the spending bill due to rift over Obamacare.
The shutdown has left nearly 800,000 employees on unpaid leave and closed national parks, tourist sites, government websites, office buildings, and more.