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Obama invites Hill leaders to White House over shutdown

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 2, 2013

President Obama has invited congressional leaders to the White House Wednesday afternoon to seek a resolution to the government shutdown.

The meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. A spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said the meeting is overdue and a sign Mr. Obama is moving off when GOP critics say is his intransigent stance.

"We're pleased the president finally recognizes that his refusal to negotiate is indefensible," said Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck. "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."

Mr. Obama has said he's unwilling to negotiate over House Republicans' demand to defund or delay Obamacare as part of any agreement to reopen government operations.

Also attending the meeting will be Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Some Democrats have questioned whether Mr. Boehner has the ability to negotiate on behalf of House Republicans, arguing that tea party lawmakers are driving the shutdown.

Rep. Alcee Hastings, Florida Democrat, said Wednesday he wished Sen. Rand Paul was also being included in the talks so Mr. Obama "can open real lines of communication to the nut wing" of the GOP.

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