Republicans, Obama plan to meet Thursday on stalemate

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on October 9, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 9 at 11:15 PM

WASHINGTON — A temporary political solution to the partial federal government shutdown could be at hand.

House Republicans are now said to be considering a short-term agreement to reopen the federal government, and at least two Texas lawmakers are scheduled to meet with President Obama at the White House on Thursday to discuss the next steps.

"If there is a one-week or a six-week arrangement to that — I hope it's a six-week — I would like to go out as far as we can to avoid discussion about default, but also to give us time to make arrangements on how we're going to come to an agreement," said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-32nd District).

Any deal would only push the problem down the road, but it would give both sides more time to talk.

President Obama meets with House Republican leaders Thursday afternoon, including Rep. Sessions.

"It is a vote we all must make, and a decision the president must make, so for us to get to the point after weeks of us publicly asking for this, the president is consenting," he said.

Even so, House Democrats insist that Obamacare remains hands-off.

"I'm not sure that there's anything to negotiate when you tell me that the only thing that's going to please you is to tear up the Affordable Care Act," said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-30th District). "We're not going to do that. I'm not going to do that."

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-5th District) is pragmatic about the current situation regarding the president's landmark health care legislation.

"The sad truth for those of us who would like to repeal it is, you cannot undo the president's signature law without his signature," he said. Hensarling suggested Republicans are now looking for other concessions besides defunding Obamacare.

"This is frankly a much broader conversation, and there's a whole lot more on the line than just the president's less-than-affordable Affordable Care Act," Hensarling said.

Are both sides getting something by talking? Has compromise returned to Congress?

The president could keep his health care law funded, but Republicans might have forced him to take a closer look at other cuts to reduce the nation's deficit.

President Obama and Vice President Biden plan to meet first with Senate Democrats on Thursday and then sit down with House Republicans. That later meeting starts at 3:30 p.m. CT, and both Rep. Hensarling and Rep. sessions will be a part of that discussion.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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