WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama called congressional leaders to the White House on Monday in search of a quick end to an impasse that threatens an unprecedented Treasury default later this week and has left parts of the government shut down for two weeks.
The White House announced the meeting as the Senate's top two leaders met privately in the Capitol for the first time since Saturday.
In announcing the mid-afternoon meeting with Obama, the White House said the president would repeat a vow he has made consistently in recent weeks: "we will not pay a ransom for Congress reopening the government and raising the debt limit."
The two Senate leaders, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., spoke by phone Sunday but failed to agree on a deal to raise the nation's borrowing authority above the $16.7 trillion debt limit or reopen the government. Congress is racing the clock with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warning that the U.S. will quickly exhaust its ability to pay the bills on Thursday.