President Obama has invited congressional leaders to the White House for a meeting on Wednesday.
NBC News confirms that John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell will be meeting at the White House at 5:30 p.m.
According to a White House official, Obama will urge the House to pass a clean continuing resolution to reopen the government, and will call on Congress to act to raise the debt ceiling.
Both Democratic and GOP leadership accepted the invitation.
“We’re pleased the president finally recognizes that his refusal to negotiate is indefensible,” said Boehner spokesperson Brendan Buck in a statement. “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.”
McConnell’s spokesperson echoed that sentiment, releasing a comment saying they were “confused” about the purpose of the 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,” it read.
Now on day two of a government shutdown, there’s been little evidence the fiasco is drawing to a close.
The House is set to vote on five mini-funding bills proposed by Republicans to restore funding to specific programs until December 15th. Three of those same bills were defeated yesterday after failing to meet a special two-thirds majority needed to pass. Today they need only a simply majority to pass.
President Obama has vowed to veto any mini-funding bills if they reach his desk. The White House budget office released a statement Wednesday standing by that position.
“Consideration of appropriations bills in a piecemeal fashion is not a serious or responsible way to run the United States Government. Instead of opening up a few Government functions, the House of Representatives should re-open all of the Government,” the statement read.
The White House announced on Wednesday that Obama was cutting his upcoming trip to Asia short, due to the government shutdown. Originally planned as a four-nation tour, Obama is still scheduled to travel to Indonesia and Brunei, but will postpone his visits to Malaysia and the Philippines.
Also on Wednesday, the country’s top intelligence officer warned that the shutdown was threatening national security.
Before a hearing on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), James Clapper told senators that with 70% of intelligence workers furloughed, “This is dreamland for foreign intelligence service to recruit.” He said the ability of the U.S. to protect its citizens was seriously damaged.