WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner’s office says a small group of House Republicans will meet with President Barack Obama on Thursday instead of the full caucus that the White House invited.
Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said Wednesday that the meeting is only worthwhile if it’s focused on finding a solution to the government shutdown. Buck said only the elected leadership and select committee chairmen will attend — 18 lawmakers out of the 232 invited.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Obama was disappointed that Boehner was “preventing his members from coming to the White House.” Carney, pinning blame for the shutdown on House Republicans, said the president wanted to talk directly with “the members who forced this economic crisis on the country about how the shutdown and a failure to pay the country’s bills could devastate the economy.”
Obama planned to meet Wednesday afternoon with the House Democratic caucus. The White House said the president intends to invite senators to talk in the coming days.
Republicans are demanding talks on deficit reduction and Obama’s health care law before approving spending legislation. Obama has said he won’t negotiate until the budget is approved and the debt ceiling lifted, with no strings attached.