Democratic Caucus to Meet with Obama on Debt


U.S. President Barack Obama has invited House of Representatives Democrats to meet Wednesday to discuss the budget crisis and a looming debt deadline, the first of a series of talks with lawmakers of both parties, a White House official said.

Other caucuses, including Republicans from both houses of Congress, will be invited in coming days, the official said. The meeting Wednesday will take place at 4:30 p.m./2030 GMT.

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With no solution in sight to a fiscal drama that has begun to unsettle financial markets, the meetings signal the beginning of an attempt to avert a damaging debt default with just over a week left before a deadline cited by the Treasury Department.

Obama and House Speaker John Boehner traded accusations over the impasse on Tuesday. Obama on Tuesday warned of chaos and economic hardship if the nation is allowed to default and said there should be no conditions attached to preventing a such an outcome.

Boehner, for his part, accused the Democratic president of seeking "unconditional surrender" from Republicans in budget talks and said there had to be some concession from the White House.

Republicans wanted to curtail the 2010 health care reform law in exchange for approving government spending. They are asking for deficit reduction talks in exchange for raising the nation's $16.7 trillion debt limit.