The White House appeared to reject a proposal by House Republicans Tuesday morning to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, calling the proposal "a partisan attempt to appease a small group of Tea Party Republicans."
"The president has said repeatedly that Members of Congress don’t get to demand ransom for fulfilling their basic responsibilities to pass a budget and pay the nation’s bills," said White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage.
The White House also announced that the president and Vice President Biden would meet with House Democratic leaders at the White House at 3:15 Tuesday afternoon. Attendees will include House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Reps. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).
House Republicans are considering legislation that would fund the government until Jan. 15 and extend the debt ceiling until Feb. 7. It includes language that would prevent members of Congress as well as Cabinet members, the president and the vice president from getting taxpayer subsidies to help offset their coverage under ObamaCare. It would also delay a tax on medical devices under the law.
The Republican language strips out a provision in a developing Senate plan that would delay a tax on reinsurance that labor unions have protested.
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday that the White House's opposition to the Republican proposal was rooted "not in that the idea is extreme," but instead that it originated in the House.
"It should be clear by now that the White House has set a completely arbitrary principle that negotiating reforms to ObamaCare is acceptable as long as they originate from the Senate, not the House," Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said.
The House bill does not include provisions that could be seen as a concession to Democrats — a potential sticking point in the bill, after the White House and Senate Democrats have repeatedly insisted that they would not negotiate over the debt ceiling. The president has said that he does not want to set a precedent by which the president's party provides ransom in exchange for keeping the government open.
Instead, the administration signaled support for the legislative package emerging from the Senate, calling it a "bipartisan, good-faith effort to end the manufactured crises that have already harmed American families and business owners." On Monday, the president discussed the proposal by phone with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
"With only a couple days remaining until the United States exhausts its borrowing authority, it’s time for the House to do the same," Brundage said.
Still, the White House stopped short of an explicit veto threat in its statement denouncing the House language.
— This story was updated at 2:53 p.m.