Reid, Pelosi summoned to White House; Met with Obama, Biden for 90 minutes

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) met with President Obama and Vice President Biden at the White House for more than an hour on Saturday afternoon. 

Reid said he is open to further negotiations over his debt-ceiling proposal, which he called “the only game in town” at a press conference Saturday shortly after the House rejected the legislation.

The House voted 173-246 on the bill, short of a majority and far short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage, which was required because Republicans brought up the bill under a suspension of House rules. Every Republican voted no, along with 11 Democrats.

Reid said he didn’t plan the meeting but received a note shortly before the 3 p.m. press conference about a meeting at the White House. 

A White House official said, “The president will meet with Leaders Reid and Pelosi at the White House at 3:30 pm to receive an update on the situation in the House and Senate.”

During his remarks, Reid framed his debt-ceiling proposal as a compromise open to further Republican input should GOP lawmakers come to him in good faith. But he also accused the GOP of stalling the debate. 

He dismissed an earlier letter from 43 Republican senators pledging not
vote for his bill, claiming several senators that signed the letter have
privately indicated a willingness to come to the table.

{mosads}”The fact is we have 43 people on this letter a number of whom have
already agreed to work with us. Whether it bears fruit we’ll see,” Reid

“We are at a crucial time in the history of the country,” Reid
continued. “I certainly hope those that have signed the letter will
continue working with us and help us come up with a proposal.”

With a midnight deadline looming, Reid emphasized that his legislation is
the only bill left standing, but again repeated that he will consider
further changes if Republicans have reasonable improvements.

Reid expressed confusion at why Republican leaders haven’t been in contact to negotiate the terms of an agreement and said he hasn’t heard from the Republican leader.

He emphasized that a default would have a far-reaching, negative impact on individuals ranging from soldiers in Afghanistan to seniors whose Social Security checks could be delayed. He said he would be happy to hold a vote on a balanced-budget amendment if the Republicans desire one.

Sam Youngman contributed.

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