“After a discussion about potential paths forward, no specific determination was made,” the White House said in a statement to reporters. “The President looks forward to making continued progress with members on both sides of the aisle.”
Obama’s meeting with about 20 House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), lasted about 90 minutes. Obama was accompanied by Vice President Biden, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors. The White House statement said the administration officials “listened to the Republicans present their proposal,” adding that Obama’s goal remains to both raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government.
House Republican leaders initially offered a six-week increase in the federal debt ceiling in exchange for negotiations with President Obama on longer-term “pressing problems,” but they stopped short of agreeing to end a government shutdown now in its 10th day.
Later in the day, Senate Republicans put forward a plan that would reopen the government and raise the federal debt limit for as long as three months.
Returning to the Capitol after meeting with Obama at the White House, members of a 20-strong House Republican delegation described the session as a good first step.
The White House denied a news report that Obama had rejected the House GOP’s proposal outright, saying that “no specific determination was made” after Obama, Vice President Biden and top officials listened to the presentation.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the gathering was “a very useful meeting” and indicated that conversations would continue into the evening.
“It was clarifying, I think, for both sides as to where we are,” he said.
“We put an offer on the table,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, told reporters. Obama “didn’t say yes; he didn’t say no,” Ryan said. “We’re continuing to negotiate this evening.”
Earlier, in a news briefing following a closed-door meeting of House Republicans to present a plan to raise the debt limit temporarily, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “What we want to do is offer the president today the ability to move a temporary increase in the debt ceiling.” He described the offer as a “good-faith effort on our part to move halfway to what he’s demanded in order to have these conversations begin.”
Obama is “happy” that House Republicans agree a federal debt default is not an option, but he would prefer a longer extension of the debt limit, White House spokesman Jay Carney said after the plan was disclosed.