President Obama publicly upped the ante on congressional leaders to avert a government shutdown, appearing unscheduled on Tuesday before the cameras to say he would keep summoning them to the White House until they struck a deal–even as a second meeting among leaders ended without an agreement and House Republicans began preparations for a shutdown.
After a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., Tuesday morning, Obama said, “If that issue does not get resolved and we don’t start seeing progress, I want a meeting again tomorrow here at the White House,” Obama said. “I will invite the same folks that we invited today. And if that doesn’t work, we’ll invite them again the day after that. And I will have my entire team available to work through the details of getting a deal done.”
With plenty of political blame to go around, both Boehner and Reid have said they want to avoid a government shutdown, and Obama’s push into negotiations signals his concern that he needs to act to help prevent the government shuttering on his watch. Save for a few prior personal meetings, Obama has been typically represented in talks by Office of Management and Budget director Jack Lew and National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling.
“We are prepared to put whatever resources are required in terms of time and energy to get this done,” Obama said.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama “wants nonstop work on this—today, tomorrow, the next day—until it gets done.”
However, Carney said Obama has not canceled any plans. Obama is scheduled to be in the Philadelphia area Wednesday to discuss energy issues before heading to New York. He is scheduled to be in Indiana on Friday.
“The president called the meeting today,” Carney said Tuesday when asked if the trip would be canceled if necessary. “If there’s a meeting tomorrow, we’ll see when that happens and who’s in attendance. It will be here. We are engaged extensively in making this happen. The president just stood before you and said he would make every member of his team, including himself, available to the leaders on the Hill to help bring this compromise to a conclusion so we can move on to the other issues that confront us, which are substantial and, in many ways, far more significant than last year’s business, six months left in the fiscal year.”