The federal government could reopen Monday, Congressman Buck McKeon, R-Santa Clarita said in a press conference on Friday afternoon, noting that he was 75 percent confident that an agreement could be reached.
House Republican leaders and committee chairmen, including Speaker John Boehner met with President Barack Obama on Thursday.
“We agreed that we had a good discussion, that the president didn’t say yes or no on anything and we would continue talking,” McKeon said.
But no proposal was submitted during the meeting. McKeon said that the House Republicans had not expected the President to ask for one so early in negotiations.
“We didn’t have anything to present to him, because we thought that would start later.”
A proposal was submitted to the White House late Thursday night or early Friday morning, and although McKeon did not have the details, he said that a five to six week extension of the debt ceiling was discussed at Thursday’s meeting.
The President is arguing that both government spending and government funding should be reinstated at the same time.
The House Republicans will meet early Saturday morning, according to McKeon, to discuss the President’s response to their emerging plan, whatever that may be.
They have not yet received word whether the President supports their plan, but McKeon said that the President’s support would be crucial in making progress toward reopening the government, especially in gaining Democratic votes to pass a deal.
Any agreement would have to pass in the House on Saturday before moving on the Senate.
“It would be (the President’s) responsibility to get Harry Reid and the Democrats on board,” McKeon said. “That being the case, they would pass it, the President would sign it and the government would reopen sometime Sunday or Monday.”
If an agreement is not reached, on the other hand, McKeon said that the effects of the shutdown would increase, especially with a default on the national debt looming. Congress must authorize the government to borrow money to finance existing obligations by Thursday, Oct. 17 or face the default.
“We would continue as we did this week with the government shutdown, with repercussions. It builds each day, and it would be a horrible week,” McKeon said, noting that a continued shutdown would also adversely affect the stock market.
A five to six week extension would allow for further budget talks, during which the President indicated that he would be willing to negotiate on Obamacare, according to McKeon.
McKeon said that the President was amenable and reasonable during Thursday’s meeting. He is “hopeful” that an agreement will be reached.