Democratic and Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives met Wednesday behind closed doors to try and remove the shackles from negotiations designed to resolve the budget crisis that has paralyzed parts of the federal government.
House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor met in private with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic whip Steny Hoyer, as Boehner's spokesman, Michael Steel, confirmed to reporters.
Apparently, that meeting did not manage to break the logjam in the talks.
In parallel manner, President Barack Obama on Wednesday began a series of meetings with Democratic and Republican leaders in both houses of Congress to try and resolve the current crisis, which is affecting some 800,000 public employees and has resulted in the suspension of numerous federal programs and activities.
Obama is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with Democratic leaders and has invited all House Republicans to a Thursday meeting to negotiate ways to reestablish the programs affected by the partial shutdown and increase the debt ceiling, which will be reached on Oct. 17.
However, Republicans will only send to that meeting a reduced delegation of 18 members, including Boehner and Cantor, according to legislative sources.
White House press secretary Jay Carney issued a statement saying that Obama is "disappointed" that Boehner is impeding the participation of all the House Republicans in the meeting.
Meanwhile, at the conclusion of the meeting with top Democratic leaders, Boehner said before the full House of Representatives that the aim is to reopen the federal bureaucracy and provide fairness to all Americans under Obama's health care law.
Boehner reiterated the Republicans' criticisms about the scope and cost of the Affordable Care Act, which he called a "train wreck." EFE