Boehner after White House meeting: It was “polite,” but they “will not negotiate”
posted at 9:31 pm on October 2, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
After a late-afternoon meeting at the White House between President Obama and Congressional leaders to (ostensibly, ahem) try to resolve their government-shutdown differences, it’s back to the ol’ drawing board. Doesn’t sound like there was any movement either way, via The Hill:
President Obama and congressional leaders emerged from a White House meeting Wednesday evening with little sign of progress toward ending the government shutdown, a standstill both parties acknowledge could last weeks.
Following a 90-minute meeting, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters Obama had “reiterated one more time tonight he will not negotiate.”
Boehner described the meeting — the first between the president and Capitol Hill leaders since the shutdown began Tuesday — as “nice” and “polite.” But he said ultimately Democrats should appoint conferees to negotiate a compromise.
“At some time, we’ve got to allow the process our Founders gave us to work out,” Boehner said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the exercise “cordial but unproductive”; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, however, emerged grumbling about Boehner’s inability to “take yes for an answer,” while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi charged that the GOP “keeps moving the goal posts” on what they want from a budget deal — which makes me wonder, did the Republicans try to make some tentative moves on introducing the new, rumored not-a-grand-bargain “grand bargain” idea they’re working on? Robert Costa reported earlier at NRO that Boehner is relying on Reps. Dave Camp and Paul Ryan on devising some kind of big package that will bring the shutdown, the debt ceiling, and some budgetary compromises altogether (medical device tax? sequestration? some tax reform? chained CPI? etcetera) over the next couple of weeks:
House Republicans tell me Speaker John Boehner wants to craft a “grand bargain” on fiscal issues as part of the debt-limit deliberations, and during a series of meetings on Wednesday, he urged colleagues to stick with him.
The revelation came quietly. Boehner called groups of members to his Capitol office all day, taking their temperature on the shutdown and the debt limit. It became clear, members say, that Boehner’s chief goal is conference unity as the debt limit nears, and he’s looking at potentially blending a government-spending deal and debt-limit agreement into a larger budget package.
“It’s the return of the grand bargain,” says one House Republican, who requested anonymity to speak freely. “There weren’t a lot of specifics discussed, and the meetings were mostly about just checking in. But he’s looking hard at the debt limit as a place where we can do something big.”
Politico is wondering if “a grand bargain is the only way out,” but I can see the White House shooting the whole thing down until the government is reopened, and if by some chance the Democrats do agree to go down that grand-bargain road, you know the Democrats will want revenue increases in some form — and that ain’t gonna’ fly.