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St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Mo. Rep. Wagner says both sides moving with 'real urgency' after shutdown meeting

Oct 11, 2013
In The News

By Bill Lambrecht
October 11, 2013

WASHINGTON • After a critical meeting at the White House, GOP Rep. Ann Wagner said she was hopeful that a deal could be reached soon to reopen the government and raise the government’s borrowing power to avoid a debt default.

“I think we’re moving in a discerning way with real urgency, and I hope that we can get a deal worked out here,” she said Thursday evening.

Wagner, of Ballwin, was among 18 House Republicans who met for 90 minutes in the Roosevelt Room with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and others in the administration in the first such meeting in a protracted standoff.

No agreement was reached, but the participants planned to continue efforts into the night and beyond in hopes of resolving differences.

House Republicans reiterated to the president their willingness to allow a vote that would extend the nation’s expiring borrowing power for six weeks. The president, participants said, was eager to talk about ending the partial shutdown of the federal government.

Wagner said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other GOP leaders spelled out an agenda they wanted addressed in coming weeks.

“We want budget negotiators to tackle the big issues like growth policy, tax reform, entitlement reform and things having to do with the big-picture issue of our $17 trillion debt,” she said.

The White House described the meeting as “good,” and House Republicans used words including “useful” and “clarifying.”

Notable in the post-gathering comments was an absence of the name-calling and blame, prominent elements in the standoff.

Wagner said the president and House members talked about the importance of toning down the harsh rhetoric that has accompanied the dispute.

“That was spoken about — the need to ratchet down the rhetoric. We can’t be fear-mongering and talking in ways that make our markets react,” she said.

Wagner, the elected leader of first-term House Republicans, in recent days has taken on a more visible role in the high-stakes impasse.

She has been positioned in camera view just to Boehner’s left at news conferences and has been interviewed regularly on cable television outlets.

Of the White House meeting, she said: “It was an amazing moment, and it was a great privilege to be part of it.”