WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama decided to stay home from economic summits in Asia as Democrats stepped up pressure on congressional Republicans to rein in their tea party faction and reopen the government with no strings attached.
House Republicans said that with Congress and the president in town this weekend, now is the perfect time to start negotiating a plan to reopen the government.
"All I'm asking for is let's sit down, like the American people would expect us, and talk to one another about getting the government open and dealing with the significant problems that we face," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters Friday. "This isn't some damn game."
GOP leaders said Friday the House will be in session Saturday so that Republicans can continue passing bills that would reopen selected parts of the federal government. The White House responded by issuing fresh veto threats, saying Congress should reopen the entire federal government.
The Labor Department, meanwhile, did not issue the monthly employment report for September that was due Friday because of the shutdown.
The White House called the partial government shutdown that entered its fourth day Friday "completely avoidable" and complained the shutdown was interfering with the president's efforts to promote trade and U.S. influence in emerging world markets.
Democrats pointed to disagreements within the Republican Party, where reluctant congressional leaders were prodded into a showdown over government funding and Obama's health care law by rowdier conservatives, such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
To get the government up and running again, "it will take some coming together on the Republican side," said the House's lead Democrat, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California.