President Barack Obama will meet with bipartisan congressional leaders at the White House Monday afternoon but says a default is a good possibility while Senate leaders say they are close to a deal.

 

President Barack Obama (C) helps bag sandwiches with furloughed federal workers Health and Human Services (T.J. Kirkpatrick-Pool/Getty Images)

"We stand a good chance of defaulting," Obama said at a Washington D.C. charity that has been highlighting the effects of the partial government shutdown by inviting furloughed workers to volunteer. The agency, Martha's Table, is also offering assistance to federal employees who are not being paid and need emergency aid.
The leaders scheduled to attend are Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Vice President Joe Biden is also scheduled to attend.

The last meeting between Obama and the congressional leaders was Oct. 2.

The White House says Obama will reiterate his desire for Congress to pass bills to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. The White House also says he will make clear that he "will not pay ransom" for lawmakers taking those steps.

Reid says he's getting closer to a deal with McConnell that would increase the nation's borrowing authority and end the 2-week-old government shutdown.

Reid made the comments to reporters on Monday after emerging from a meeting with McConnell that lasted just over a half hour.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)