In an attempt to put it all on the table, the Senate's top Republican invited President Barack Obama to a GOP lunch at the Capitol to discuss the ongoing dispute over the debt ceiling and related issues, but the White House on Thursday declined the invitation, the Los Angeles Times reported.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Minority Leader, urged Obama to meet with Republicans to explain his position after the president challenged Congress to move quickly on the question of increasing the debt ceiling.
That way he can hear directly from Republicans why what he's proposing won't pass, McConnell said. And we can start talking about what's actually possible.
At his televised briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Republicans just wanted to reiterate their maximalist position. That's not a conversation worth having, he said, while adding the administration was still open to talks about a compromise.
Carney also refused to say if the president has plans to meet with Senate Democrats next week, though Majority Leader, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters on Thursday that he had invited the president and Vice President Joe Biden to meet with Democrats and he expected them to attend.
Democrats are demanding tax hikes via closing loop-holes and ending subsidies for certain corporations and upper-income Americans, including oil/energy companies and owners of corporate-class jets, as part of the deal to increase the amount the nation can borrow by an Aug. 2 deadline; the Republicans categorically refuse. Both sides back spending cuts, but differ on the size and programs to be trimmed.
Obama has argued that failure to act on increasing the debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion would lead to default and throw the international markets into turmoil.