President Obama met with Senate Democrats on Thursday while awaiting the details of a House Republican plan for a short-term increase in the debt ceiling.
"Let's wait and see what the House does," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., after he and his caucus met for an hour and 45 minutes with Obama at the White House.
Reid said he understands the specifics of a House plan keep changing, and cracked that the Republican-run chamber "has a unique form of legislating: It's hour by hour."
In a readout issued after the meeting, the White House said Obama "reaffirmed that we will not allow them to hold the economy hostage to an extreme political agenda that includes demands like defunding Obamacare or reinstating tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires that the majority of Americans reject. "
Obama meets later Thursday afternoon with a delegation of House Republicans led by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
Earlier, Boehner said that the GOP would vote to extend the debt ceiling by six weeks -- if Obama agrees to full negotiations over spending cuts and the shutdown.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama wants the government re-opened and a long-term increase in the debt ceiling. Carney said the president would likely sign a short-term debt ceiling bill, if is "clean" with no special provisions.
Also noting there is not yet a specific bill, Carney said "we'll see what the House Republicans propose. We'll see what they're able to pass and consider it then."
The Treasury Department expects to hit the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling next week, which means it will run out of authority to borrow money to pay the nation's debts. That would lead to a government default.
The government shutdown, meanwhile, is in its tenth day.
Obama had invited all 233 House Republicans to a meeting a White House. Boehner decided to take only a delegation of 18 or so members, including party leaders, and key committee chairs.
David Jackson, USA TODAY