After weeks of intransigence, lawmakers finally seem to be making progress toward resolving the latest fiscal crisis in Washington.
A meeting between President Barack Obama and the House Republican leadership on Thursday seems to have helped change the tone of the debate, potentially breaking the deadlock.
In a statement released following the meeting, the GOP leadership described the conversation as "useful and productive" but noted that no final decisions were made.
"House Republicans remain committed to good faith negotiations with the president, and we are pleased there was an opportunity to sit down and begin a constructive dialogue tonight," the statement said.
The statement also noted that the president and the House Republican leaders agreed that communication should continue.
Ahead of the meeting, House Republicans proposed temporarily raising the debt ceiling to avoid default and allow time for negotiations.
While Obama is said to be willing to accept a temporary increase in the debt limit, he continues to push for legislation that would also end the ongoing government shutdown.
A White House statement regarding the meeting said, "The President looks forward to making continued progress with members on both sides of the aisle."
"The President's goal remains to ensure we pay the bills we've incurred, reopen the government and get back to the business of growing the economy, creating jobs and strengthening the middle class," the White House statement added.
According to reports, Obama told the House GOP leadership to return to their members and find out what needs to be done to reach an agreement to end the shutdown.
While Obama has indicated that he will not accept any policy conditions as part of an agreement, the Republican leaders will be looking for some form of concession to make the votes palatable to their rank-and-file members.
Late Friday morning, the president is scheduled to meet with Senate Republicans regarding the need to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.
The meeting is likely to include discussions on a proposal from Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that would fund the government, repeal the medical device tax in the health care law, and give federal agencies flexibility to manage the sequester.
by RTT Staff Writer
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