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President Obama plans to talk to GOP again on shutdown, debt

So far, the underlying standoff remains the same. Republicans demand talks on deficit reduction and Obama's 2010 health care law as the price for boosting the government's borrowing authority and returning civil servants to work. The president insists that Congress first end the shutdown and extend the debt limit before he will negotiate.

"Speaker Boehner could end this government shutdown today, an hour from now" by letting the House vote to do so, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Wednesday of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said GOP senators hoped Obama's desire to meet with them meant he was willing to bargain.

"But if this is a meeting where he simply reiterates that he won't negotiate, this meeting will not be productive," Stewart said.

On Tuesday, Boehner told reporters he was not drawing "lines in the sand." He sidestepped a question about whether he'd raise the debt limit and fund government for short periods by saying, "I'm not going to get into a whole lot of speculation."


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