White House press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday said President Obama was “disappointed” that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was only allowing a select group of GOP budget negotiators to attend a meeting to break through the fiscal deadlock.
“President Obama is disappointed that Speaker Boehner is preventing his members from coming to the White House,” said Carney in a statement. “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.”
President Obama invited the GOP caucus to attend a Thursday meeting at the White House in hopes of brokering a deal to end the federal government shutdown and ahead of a deadline to raise the nation’s debt ceiling by Oct. 17.
Boehner though decided to take a team of 20 GOP leaders and committee chairmen to the White House summit.
The shutdown entered its ninth day on Wednesday, with Republicans insisting that they will not pass a continuing resolution to reopen government or a debt-limit hike unless Obama negotiates with them over deeper spending cuts and entitlement reforms.
Obama has said that he will only talk to GOP leaders if they pass a “clean” CR without Republican demands and raise the nation’s borrowing limit.
The White House has also pressed Boehner to vote on a clean CR, claiming it could pass with the backing of Democrats and centrist Republicans. But Boehner has said he does not have the votes.
Carney reiterated that Obama expects Republicans to pass a clean CR and debt-limit raise.
“The President will talk to anyone anytime and looks forward to their visit to the White House, but will not pay the Republicans ransom for doing their job,” he said. “If the Republicans want to have a real discussion they should open the government and take the threat of default off the table.”