Washington, Oct 3 (IANS) US President Barack Obama met congressional leaders for the first time since a budget impasse forced the federal government to a partial shutdown, but little progress was made toward ending the standoff.
After a closed-door meeting at the White House, US House Speaker John Boehner said in a very brief statement that Obama refused to negotiate and they are still divided, Xinhua reported.
"The president said one more time that he will not negotiate," Boehner told reporters. "All we're asking for here is a discussion and fairness for the American people under Obamacare."
He also noted that the Republicans want to have conferees appointed to a joint conference committee to resolve the differences.
Obama summoned the Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress to the White House for an afternoon meeting as the government shutdown stretched to the second day.
"We are locked in tight on Obamacare," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid after the meeting. He said the Democrats are open for discussions on budget but Republicans won't budge.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said the Republicans just "keep moving the goal posts" on what they want from a budget deal.
"The President made clear to the leaders that he is not going to negotiate over the need for Congress to act to reopen the government or to raise the debt limit to pay the bills Congress has already incurred," the White House said in a statement after the meeting.
It said Obama reinforced his view during the meeting that the House should put the clean government funding bill that has been passed by the Senate up for a vote. He remained hopeful that Congress will not only do its job to reopen the government, but also act to pay the bills it has racked up and spare the nation from a devastating default.