Topics: Obamacare

Obama, Boehner speak on phone, agree only to 'keep talking'

By |
Politics,White House,Congress,Brian Hughes,Barack Obama,Obamacare,John Boehner,Debt Ceiling,PennAve,Government Shutdown,Meghashyam Mali

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, spoke Friday afternoon, but failed to reach a breakthrough on a deal to reopen the government and avoid a default on the nation’s debt.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Obama had “concerns” with the latest House GOP proposal, which would raise the nation’s debt ceiling but set up further talks before ending the federal government shutdown.

"What we think is not the right way to go is to try again to link extension of the debt ceiling to budget negotiations, and therefore link the possibility of default to whether one side gets what it wants in those negotiations," Carney said.

Carney added that the two leaders had “a good conversation and the two of them agreed that all sides need to keep talking on the issues that are confronting us."

In a statement, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said the two “agreed that we should all keep talking.”

The Obama-Boehner call came after Obama met Friday with GOP senators on the shutdown’s 11th day and with less than a week left before the nation hits its borrowing limit.

Obama met with House and Senate Democrats and House Republican leaders earlier this week.

House Republicans on Thursday offered the president a plan to raise the debt ceiling for six weeks and called for talks on a broader budget deal that would help reopen the government.

GOP leaders hope to tie any government funding bill to deeper spending cuts, entitlement reforms or measures blocking Obamacare.

The White House and Democrats have insisted they will not address budget or health care issues until the GOP ends the shutdown by passing a government funding bill with no strings attached.

While the White House did not accept the initial House GOP offer, both sides said they would continue talks and expressed optimism about reaching a deal.

Senate Republicans, though, are pushing a rival plan that would extend the nation’s credit line for a short period and fund the government for a year at current levels. That bill would also repeal Obamacare’s medical device tax.

“We had a useful meeting with the president, in which he spent a lot of time interacting with our members,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., after returning to the Hill. “There are currently a number of different discussions going on to get a solution on a bipartisan basis. And now that we’re back at the Capitol, we’ll continue to work on finding a way forward.”

Many GOP senators fear the party is losing the messaging battle after polls consistently showed the public blaming Republicans more for the government shutdown, and they are eager to resolve the stalemate.

Examiner White House Correspondent Susan Crabtree contributed to this report.

View article comments Leave a comment