Obama remained opposed to the Houses piecemeal approach to funding the government, even though the president signed a bill into law earlier this week that would pay U.S. troops around the globe during the shutdown.
While the rhetoric sizzled, leaders were making behind-the-scenes bids to find common ground. Reid sent Boehner a one-page letter recalling how he backed President George W. Bush 11 years ago when Bush sought authority to invade Iraq.
I could have taken the steps that you are taking now to block government funding in order to gain leverage to end the war, Reid told Boehner. But I did not do that. I felt it would have been devastating to America.
Put the clean budget, funding the federal government temporarily, to a House vote, Reid said, and I commit to name conferees to a budget conference as soon as the government reopens.
Such a conference, or negotiation, would include top congressional budget-writers, who would try to work out a longer-term spending and tax plan.
Boehners camp had an icy response. Offering to negotiate only after Democrats get everything they want is not much of an offer, said spokesman Michael Steel.
Carney said Obama remains willing to negotiate on the budget and the health care law but not until Republicans agree to reopen the government and pay its bills with the higher debt ceiling.
Todays meeting is about the need to open the government, and the need to ensure that we do not default, he said.
And the presidents made clear that he will that he is happy and willing, as he has been all year round, all year long, to engage in serious conversations and negotiations with Republican lawmakers who want to find common ground on our budget challenges absolutely willing to, Carney said. What he is not willing to do is negotiate under the threat of default or under the threat of continuing to shut down the government.
Obama met with more than a dozen Wall Street bankers, who warned of the consequences of the shutdown and the potential failure to raise the debt ceiling next month.
Theres a consensus that we shouldnt do anything that hurts this recovery thats a little bit shallow, not very well established and is quite vulnerable, Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, said after the meeting. The shutdown of the government and particularly a failure to raise the debt ceiling would accomplish that.
Earlier in the day, Obama canceled two of four stops on an upcoming trip to Asia to return to Washington because of the government shutdown.
The White House announced that Obama called Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Philippines President Benigno Aquino on Tuesday night to deliver the news.
The White House hasnt yet canceled the rest of the trip, with Obama scheduled to leave Washington Saturday night for Asia summits in Indonesia and Brunei.