Senate Democrats 'sync up' at the White House
October 12th, 2013
08:07 PM ET
9 years ago

Senate Democrats 'sync up' at the White House

Washington (CNN) - Senate Democratic leaders emerged from a meeting with President Barack Obama Saturday evening saying they were more cohesive than ever.

Sens. Harry Reid of Nevada, Chuck Schumer of New York, Patty Murray of Washington and Dick Durbin of Illinois had a "very productive meeting" with the President, according to a Senate Democratic aide. Although they did not move forward on any particular deal or plan, they "reviewed a number of the options raised in meetings over the last few days."

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"Their conclusion was that while Democrats remain united, Republicans have yet to coalesce behind a clear negotiating position," said the aide. "Democrats' position remains the same: Democrats are willing to negotiate on anything Republicans want to discuss as soon as we reopen the government and pay our bills."

Another Democratic source called it an effort to "sync up" after so many different conversations over the last 72 hours and address what they say is a lack of a coherent Republican position.

The meeting, which began at 3:30 p.m. and lasted over an hour, came on a day of dashed hopes for a deal.

Saturday morning, House Speaker John Boehner told his Republican caucus that Obama would reject their proposal to raise the debt ceiling for six weeks. Hours later, Reid, the Senate majority leader, announced a bipartisan Senate plan to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling for longer was dead as well.

With the news, many members of Congress decided to travel home for the holiday weekend. The House is adjourned until noon Monday, and while the Senate will be in session tomorrow, members may leave town because there are no votes scheduled.

Still, leader on both sides are continuing to talk, with the White House's support.

"The President and the leaders agreed that talks between Senate Democratic and Senate Republican leaders should continue in the coming days."

Reid announced he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, are engaging in "cordial" and "preliminary" negotiations to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.

The hope is that McConnell, who knows how to deliver if he chooses to deliver, can "cut through the clutter," according to the Democratic source.

–CNN’s Conor Finnegan contributed to this report.

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. bill

    Mr Hagel did not do his job.... he was talking to a none profit when he knew the house was going to vote for the fallen benefits... And if you have a clue you and me knew it would pass the house and it did 400 to o..... So why was Mr Hagel not at Mr Ried office telling him/asking Mr Ried for a fast asap vote... No vote on this until a GOP senate member ask for it.... Are we fools Mr Ried Mr Hagel you must think we are..... Stand strong GOP we need you !!!!

    October 12, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Scary when McConnell is the only hope to prevent a global meltdown.

    October 12, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  3. penguin

    Open the govt. Increase the debt limit. We've already given in to too many Republican policies.

    October 12, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  4. buongiorno

    waste you are

    October 12, 2013 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  5. Concerned citizen

    How is it Congress and Senate can travel home? Whose paying for that? They should lock them in the chambers until they can get a budget and quit playing with people lives not getting paid!! We haven't had a actual government budget since Obama was elected. I thought it was the law to have a budget no these continuing resolutions! I think they think they are above the law! It's time for term limits and lets not vote for anyone who is office now, Democrat or Republican, they're not doing their job! (Interesting fact we pay almost a billion a year just to have those idiot up in Washington and we are getting anything for it)

    October 12, 2013 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  6. roro

    Thank goodness at least the Dems are still working. The Repugs, who brought this debacle down on us, are happily on their way home, once again showing complete contempt for the rest of us.

    October 12, 2013 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    Stay united, Senate Democrats! Also wonderful to see Patty Murray representing the great Pacific Northwest!

    October 12, 2013 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  8. Jack

    The house members need to stay in town keep working instead going home to get their ego's stroked by a select group of their supporters!

    October 13, 2013 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  9. Richard Long

    Ah... The "Great Uniter" that was supposed to usher In an "era of unprecedented cooperation".
    Just another partisan charlatan.

    "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a Sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. ...Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here'. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and Grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."

    October 13, 2013 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  10. Thomas

    It's time for the house speaker to put the clean spending bill on the floor for a vote .

    It's sad , few people will profit because of the shutdown , more hard working people will suffer.

    And if we don't raise the debt ceiling , somebody has a chance to make a lot of money going short on America.

    If we default , the GOP will be up to there jobs and economy strategy once again , Where's the Jobs , Jobs , Jobs.

    October 13, 2013 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  11. Wes

    Why do all these democrats hate America so much?

    October 13, 2013 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  12. Larry in Houston

    the dems know the repubs are fractured, and they know Boehner & McConnell can "cut thru the "clutter" but the "clutter" is the ultra fringe, and they don't want to upset them, because IF they do, there will be more "jumping ship" as some already have. IF they keep up what they are doing, not only they will continue to be a fractured party, they will end up looking IN, instead of looking Out.

    October 13, 2013 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  13. The Elephant in The Room

    I hope they sync up around a HIGHER starting point when true negotiations start. Go ahead and signm a clean CR [short term] at the Republicans sequester number. But since the Republicans have played fast & loose with facts, rules of protocol, and the principle of democratic, majority rule, its time for the Democrats in the Housew & Senate to go back to a $1052 Billion baseline. The GOP says its for NIH funding? Good;: then restore it to pre-sequester levels and save MORE KIDS. Walk thru the budget and rinse in this manner and REPEAT.

    October 13, 2013 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
  14. Name Uche Agonsi

    Congress away on weekend !!! Mr. President should go for gulf. This is a case of someone's house on fire and the person playing. How does it look for US and the World to be in pains and anguish, while the Congress enjoys their weekend. Maybe, and just maybe, Obama & the Demos are not negotiating with the right people, that is, Republican lords and financiers. White House should invite them over immediately, not forgetting the Koch Brothers.

    October 13, 2013 05:28 am at 5:28 am |
  15. Wake up People!

    Stick together dems for once. That includes those of you that are jealous of the POTUS. The reps stick together whether right or wrong. And look at their devotion to destroying the POTUS. It's time to treat them like they treat you.

    October 13, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  16. Rachel

    Give Obama and the Democrats no spending limit, increased welfare, gun control, more taxes and no more sequester and they will be very happy little socialists.

    October 13, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  17. Norma Vessels

    Yes, Mitch McConnell can 'cut through the clutter' .. he can bring his people together .. he can do a lot of things .. but the question is, will he? He hasn't done anything to help our President in any way so far. He's mostly gone out of his way to cause trouble for President Obama. Mitch McConnell can do a lot of things for the President, for us ... but, he won't.

    October 13, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  18. barry

    "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."

    - Barack Obama

    October 13, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  19. will

    Can members of congress be impeached for radical ideology that goes beyond the scope of law?

    October 13, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  20. Brenda

    Don't give them anything and throw and then drone them.

    October 13, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  21. RJ

    Good to know that the do nothing Democrats are sticking together, that way the country ha no excuse but to blame them for their complete inaction. Democrats have become the true Party of No. Democrats so far: No Bills, No Negotiations, No Debate. If a common citizen did this on the job they'd be fired!

    October 13, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  22. Tom1940

    Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall in this meeting and listen to these folks. Particularly their "discussion" over who's idea it was to deny paying the $100,000 death benefit to the relatives/beneficiaries of the 29 fallen (killed), service members? Nothing like having a President (Commander-in-Chief), Sect'y of Defense and others of the Democrat persuasion using every tactic at their disposal to "inflict pain" (physical and emotional), upon the American Public to achieve their ideologically driven political goals. Amazing! This President went from "viable, 2nd term elected "Leader""!, to a "Lame-Duck" has been, "self-castrated" non-leader in just a matter of months. A pawn of the Russians/Syrians and "drawn-in" by the Iranians into dead-end talks (business as usual for the Iranians). And now a dead-lock in the Debt Ceiling and CR fight because "I will not negotiate!!!!). Does duffus accurately describe this "None "Commander-In-Chief", Lame Duck President? Words escape me in finding an accurate description of this President and His Senate.

    October 13, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. Thomas

    Why do all these democrats hate America so much?

    Value Voter ?

    October 13, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. RT Colorado

    Large government isn't possible without access to credit and on the other hand large deficits are what brings governments down. Paul Kennedy's "The Rise and Fall of Great Powers" gives a clear picture of what happens when seemingly invincible empires become mired in a huge debt pool. Niall Ferguson's "The Great Degeneration" puts Kennedy's earlier work into closer perspective using current examples to point out the how, when and who will probably replace the US as a principal world power. The US will never be completely irrelevant as long as it has nuclear weapons, but could easily find itself trapped in a "Catch-22" like situation. When the economic collapse comes (and it is almost certain to happen), the US will be constrained from using what military power it has left for fear of destroying what little resources it has left. In the long view of history, this will look like the US slowly being squeezed out of it's role as the world's eminent power and being consigned to "one of the nations that occupies an important role in today's events". The difficult part will be Americans willing to accept that they will no longer be able to affect change by itself nor be the driving force behind important coalitions, but will have to participate as just another member of a much larger group. The fight over the debt ceiling (the most recent in a long line of other fights, past and future) is just one more step in a failure to get some reasonable control over our debt and thereby control the future of our children and their children's children.

    October 13, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |