WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- As the fiscal wrangle over U.S. federal government's budget and debt ceiling lingers, U.S. President Barack Obama has started to reach out to congressional leaders of both parties to end the fiscal impasse.
Obama, a Democrat, on Wednesday met with Democratic lawmakers from the House of Representatives in the White House for more than one hour, as he is seeking a path to reopen the government.
Obama has opened the door to the negotiation framework of kicking off bipartisan fiscal talks after Congress approving a short-term government funding bill, a positive sign for breaking the fiscal logjam.
"The President thanked the House Democrats for their support of the clean, short-term continuing resolution that would re-open the government and end the unnecessary pain this shutdown is causing families across the country," the White House said in a readout of the meeting.
In U.S. government budget language, a clean continuing resolution means a short-term government funding bill with no conditions attached.
"The President and the House Democrats reaffirmed their shared belief that we cannot let one faction of the Republicans in the House demand a ransom for Congress doing its job and paying the bills we have already incurred," noted the readout.
The U.S. federal government lurched into a partial shutdown after Congress failed to pass a funding bill before Oct. 1, the first day of the 2014 fiscal year. Republicans in the House of Representatives were demanding changes to Obama's signature health care law, or Obamacare, in exchange for funding the government, which the White House opposes.
"The President discussed his desire, once the threat of default is removed and the government is reopened, to engage with both sides on a discussion of how we achieve a broader budget agreement that puts job creation, economic growth, and a strong middle class front and center," noted the readout.
Moreover, Obama is scheduled to meet with Democratic senators and House Republican leaders on Thursday afternoon in the White House.
Washington faces another fiscal deadline as U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has told Congress that the federal government will reach its debt ceiling of 16.7 trillion U.S. dollars by Oct. 17, and failure to raise it by U.S. Congress would lead to a catastrophic default. However, both parties have not agreed on the details of a borrowing authority increase.
Besides the Democratic efforts to win a short-term funding bill to reopen the government, some Democratic senators are mulling over passing a long-term debt limit hike in the amount of about 1 trillion dollars to ensure the government can be in operation through the end of 2014. Republicans would like to tie entitlement reforms and other conditions with a debt limit increase.
"We have an opportunity here to pay down the national debt and jump-start the economy, if we start talking, and talking specifics, now. To break the deadlock, both sides should agree to common-sense reforms of the country's entitlement programs and tax code," Paul Ryan, Republican vice presidential nominee in 2012, said in a Op-Ed on the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
With the government shutdown firmly in its second week and Obama refusing big changes to Obamacare, top Republican leaders have quietly shifting the focus of fiscal negotiation from derailing Obamacare to entitlement program reforms. Ryan's article did not touch upon reforming Obamacare.
Entitlement programs including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will be the major driver of U.S. government deficits in next 10 years, and reforms to entitlement programs and the tax code will spur U.S. economic growth, said Ryan, chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee.
The United States is confronted with a debt crisis and controlling the government's spending should be part of a negotiation between Republicans and Democrats to solve the fiscal logjam, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the House Republican Conference, told Xinhua on Tuesday.