High drama on Capitol Hill as tempers flare, leaders fail to reach deal

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Despite an emergency meeting at the White House, congressional leaders reported no progress late Wednesday on trying to reach a budget deal — while over on Capitol Hill, tempers were flaring and lawmakers were melting down on the floor of the House.

The top four congressional leaders took a stab, during an hour-long White House meeting, at negotiating with President Obama over the impasse. There was no breakthrough.

House Speaker John Boehner emerged saying he had a “nice, polite conversation” but complaining that Obama would not budge off his demand that Congress pass a straight budget bill — one that does not impede ObamaCare in any way. Boehner wants to launch formal negotiations over the now-stalled short-term spending bill, but Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid says talks over “anything” can only start after the House approves it.

“We’re through playing these little games,” Reid said, with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi by his side.

The White House later issued a statement saying Obama had made it clear to the leaders “he is not going to negotiate over the need for Congress to act to reopen the government or to raise the debt limit.” It added the president was “glad” the leaders could engage “in this useful discussion.”

Over at the House, lawmakers let loose. Lawmakers spent the evening shouting at each other, as they considered a series of votes on mini-spending bills but got no closer to a deal that could re-open the entire government.

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