President Barack Obama. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
David Jackson, USA TODAY
USA TODAY - President Obama will meet with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday to discuss possible ends to the government shutdown.
"We're pleased the president finally recognizes that his refusal to negotiate is indefensible," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "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."
Obama has urged Republican congressional leaders to pass a new spending plan that does not include changes to the health care plan, as demanded by some GOP members.
A White House official familiar with the president's plans said Obama "will urge the House to pass the clean CR (congressional resolution) to reopen the government, and call on Congress to act to raise the debt ceiling to pay the bills we have already incurred and avoid devastating consequences on our economy."
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting has not yet taken place.
Boehner will be joined at the 5:30 p.m. conference by the Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi are also scheduled to attend the 5:30 p.m. meeting.