Maybe Chris Christie’s criticism stung a little more than imagined. After sitting on the sidelines for weeks, Barack Obama has finally called a meeting to resolve the budget standoff:
A White House official says President Barack Obama has invited congressional leaders to the White House Wednesday for a meeting on the government shutdown.
The official says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have been invited to the meeting. The official says Obama will urge the House to pass a spending bill to allow the government to reopen.
The meeting will take place at 5:30 this afternoon, according to a number of news reports:
We've learned the @WhiteHouse has invited congressional leaders to an afternoon meeting about the government shutdown.
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) October 2, 2013
Obama shutdown summit with Hill leaders set for 5:30p.m. ET. Invitees include: Reid, McConnell, Boehner & Pelosi.
— PETER MAER (@petermaercbs) October 2, 2013
Old and busted: Obama refuses to negotiate with bomb-strapping, gun-pointing legislators. New hotness: Time to talk about budgets, now that the media is … focusing on the White House’s efforts to keep nonagenarians from accessing public memorials? The White House will probably point to this story instead:
The U.S. Army’s chief of staff on Wednesday urged a rapid resolution of a funding row that has led to a government shutdown, saying it was significantly harming the army’s day-to-day operations.
General Ray Odierno said the shutdown, the first in 17 years, “impacts significantly day-to-day operations”, forcing the military to cut training, travel and focus on tasks that were essential to current operations.
“The longer it goes on, the worse it gets. Every day that goes by, we are losing manpower, we are losing capability, so in my mind it is important we get this resolved,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview from Germany, where he was attending a conference.
Don’t bet on that being the reason, though. The executive branch’s handling of the shutdown has been a disaster, as has been the rollout of the ObamaCare exchanges. They need to win a messaging cycle badly now, and one way of doing that is to broker a fix on funding the government — perhaps even with a concession on Congressional exemptions to ObamaCare, if not an agreement on a repeal of the highly-unpopular medical device tax. If nothing else, Obama may wrangle a one-week clean CR from Reid in order to dial down the bad press.
Update: Boehner declares victory:
Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck released a statement welcoming the invite: “We’re pleased the president finally recognizes that his refusal to negotiate is indefensible. It’s unclear why we’d be having this meeting if it’s not meant to be a start to serious talks between the two parties.”
Update: Congressional Democrats will hold pressers today, but …
Kind of bigfooted by WH summit, no? RT @ChadPergram: Senate Dems presser at 12:30 pm et. House Dems on House steps at 2 pm et.
— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) October 2, 2013
Stealing thunder, etc etc.
Update: The Washington Examiner offers a headline that pretty much explains why the White House is in retreat now: “Shutdown overreach: More guards at WWII memorial than Benghazi; Park Service closes park it doesn’t run.” Truly mind-boggling incompetence.