WASHINGTON — President Obama has invited congressional leaders to the White House on Wednesday evening to discuss the government shutdown, according to an administration official.
The meeting will be the first face-to-face conversations between the president and the top four leaders since a budget standoff closed many federal agencies Tuesday.
Obama will meet with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Republicans have criticized the president for not negotiating in the budget fight. Boehner’s spokesman said the speaker is “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,” said Brendan Buck.
Before the meeting, the House is set to vote again on some spending bills that would reopen politically popular federal entities, such as national parks, museums and veterans services. The bill failed to pass Tuesday night because they fell short of a two-thirds majority required to waive the rules.
GOP leaders added two additional spending measures to the package Wednesday, to fund medical research and pay the National Guard and reservists. Unlike Tuesday’s votes, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, Wednesday’s will require a simple majority vote.