Washington (CNN) – Speaking at a local food pantry, President Barack Obama on Monday acknowledged the Senate has made "some progress" in a deal to reopen the government and raise the nation's debt ceiling.
But he was not entirely confident the deal would be reached before Thursday's deadline, when the Treasury Department says it will no longer be able to pay all of the government's bills.
The president said "we stand a good chance of defaulting" if "Republicans aren't willing to set aside some of their partisan concerns," adding that a default would have a "potentially devastating effect on our economy."
On the Columbus Day holiday, Obama visited Martha's Table, a food pantry in Washington that provides groceries, as well as daycare, after-school and summer programs.
"Part of the reason I'm here today is because we've got a lot of volunteers here who are furloughed federal workers," the president said, wearing a green Martha's Table apron. "And yet they're here contributing and giving back to the community, and I think that shows the kind of spirit that we have among all kinds of federal workers all across the country."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters on Monday after meeting with his Republican counterpart that a deal was closer to end the partial government shutdown and avoid a default as soon as Thursday.
Separately, House Speaker John Boehner and other top House GOP leaders will meet Monday to discuss their options and consider preparing their own bill to raise the debt ceiling.
The president meets with Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi later on Monday.
"This week we'll be entering into the third week of a government shutdown that was completely unnecessary," he said, mentioning that he'll be meeting with congressional leaders. "I am going to once again urge them to open the government and make sure the United States' government is paying its bills."
He added, "The problem is that we've seen this brinkmanship as a strategy time and time again to try to extract extreme or partisan concessions."
Republican Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday agreed the government should not pass the debt ceiling deadline, but argued the president has been trying to "scare people" in his warnings about the consequences of a government default.
"It's irresponsible for him to scare people," he said on CNN's "State of the Union." "He should be the opposite. The leader of the country should be soothing the markets and saying we will always pay the interest on our debt."
– CNN's Jim Acosta and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.