Washington— Two Michigan lawmakers will be among the group of Republicans heading to a White House meeting Thursday with President Barack Obama in attempt to break the logjam over the federal government shutdown and looming debt ceiling debate.
U.S. Reps. Fred Upton, chairman of House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, will be among 18 GOP leaders sitting down with Obama as the government shutdown continues into its second week.
“Right now, folks in Michigan and across the country are tired of government dysfunction,” Upton, R-St. Joseph, said in statement. “They want their leaders to talk through and tackle the difficult issues.”
Obama met Wednesday with the Democratic caucus and extended a similar invitation to the entire Republican conference for Thursday. Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he chose to limit the representation to the GOP leadership and certain committee chairmen to promote a constructive conversation.
Upton and Camp lead committees with jurisdiction over two of the party’s pressing concerns — health care and tax reform, respectively,
"I am pleased that President Obama is finally willing to talk with House Republicans, and I hope it will lead to substantive and productive action to finally deal with Washington’s runaway debt and deficits,” Camp, R-Midland, said in statement. “The American people expect us to work together, and I am prepared to do so.”
Upton on Wednesday also sounded a tone of optimism.
“I am hopeful that the president will reason with us and be willing to negotiate tomorrow as we work to meaningfully address our challenges and do what is right for all Americans,” he said.
Obama has said he'll negotiate with House Republicans over their concerns when they pass a short-term bill to reopen all of government and increase the debt limit. Republicans have pushed to delay and defund Obama’s signature health care law as a condition to passing a budget bill that would reopen the government.
“If you're in negotiations around buying somebody's house, you don't get to say, 'Well, let's talk about the price I'm going to pay, and if you don't give the price then I'm going to burn down your house.' That's not how negotiations work,” Obama said Tuesday. “… In the same way, members of Congress — and the House Republicans in particular — don't get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their jobs. And two of their very basic jobs are passing a budget and making sure that America is paying its bills.”