Obama tells congressional leaders he won't negotiate on shutdown, debt


WASHINGTON, Oct 2 (Reuters) - President Barack Obamastressed to congressional leaders on Wednesday that he will notnegotiate with Republicans over a government shutdown or raisingthe U.S. debt limit, the White House said.

After more than an hour of talks at the White House that didnot lead to a breakthrough, the White House issued a statementsaying that Obama remains hopeful that "common sense willprevail" in the budget standoff.

"The president made clear to the leaders that he is notgoing to negotiate over the need for Congress to act to reopenthe government or to raise the debt limit to pay the billsCongress has already incurred," the White House said.

Obama held talks in the Oval Office with the top U.S.Republican, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, theSenate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, the top Democrat inCongress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and HouseDemocratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

It was their first face-to-face talks since a governmentshutdown began on Tuesday.

House Republicans have been demanding that Obama agree tocut funding or delay implementation of his signature healthcarelaw in exchange for their agreement to approve spending measuresto reopen the government.

In addition to the government shutdown, the United Statesfaces a historic debt default on Oct. 17 unless Congress agreesto raise the U.S. borrowing limit.

"The House could act today to reopen the government and stopthe harm this shutdown is causing to the economy and familiesacross the country," the White House said.

"The president remains hopeful that common sense willprevail, and that Congress will not only do its job to reopenthe government, but also act to pay the bills it has racked upand spare the nation from a devastating default," it said.

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