When President Obama meets with congressional leaders late Wednesday afternoon, he'll ask for nothing other than that Republicans allow the federal government to reopen.
"A negotiation in the Washington sense traditionally implies give-and-take, trade-offs, demands, if you give me this, I'll give you that. The president's approach in this that he's asking for nothing from Republicans," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. "He is attaching zero demands to the general proposition that Congress should simply open the government, keep it open. He is asking for nothing, making no demands. He is attaching no partisan strings to his request."
Republicans are seeking to delay, defund or repeal all or part of Mr. Obama's signature health care reform law as part of any bill to reopen the federal government, which closed 12:01 a.m. Tuesday after the last fiscal year ended.
Democrats, led by Mr, Obama, remain staunchly opposed to any changes to Obamacare, and the two sides remain at an impasse.
Over the past few days, the White House has attempted to exploit rifts within the GOP. Mr. Carney on Wednesday once again encouraged House Speaker John Boehner to put on the floor a "clean" bill that funds the government at current levels but excludes anything to do with Obamacare.
The House GOP's tea party members surely would vote against such a measure, though Mr. Carney — and some Republicans — argue it could still pass with bipartisan support.
"The speaker of the House should hold on that proposition and see what happens," Mr. Carney said of a clean spending bill. "It would pass overwhelmingly. I think you know that's true. I think every member of Congress knows that's true."
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