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No Deal at White House, but Both Sides Will Keep Talking (Updated)

Updated 10:33 p.m. | A lengthy meeting between top House Republicans and President Barack Obama failed to reach a deal, but staff on both sides will continue to talk this evening in an effort to agree on a plan to reopen the government and extend the debt limit.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said the afternoon meeting between President Barack Obama and GOP lawmakers was “constructive” and “clarifying.”

“We had a constructive conversation. Agreed to continue discussions. Talks will continue tonight. And hopefully we’ll have a clearer way, path forward,” he said.

Other Republicans said the two sides were effectively negotiating — something they have been demanding all along.

House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said, “We agreed to try to make conditions for a CR,” which would reopen the government. “We’ll get back with each other tonight,” he added.

“We’re negotiating,” said Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin. “He didn’t say yes and he didn’t say no.”

House Republicans released a readout saying: “the President and leaders agreed that communication should continue throughout the night. House Republicans remain committed to good faith negotiations with the president, and we are pleased there was an opportunity to sit down and begin a constructive dialogue tonight.”

The White House in a readout said it was “a good meeting” that lasted about an hour and a half.

“The President, along with the Vice President, Treasury Secretary Lew, Denis McDonough and Rob Nabors listened to the Republicans present their proposal,” the White House statement said. “After a discussion about potential paths forward, no specific determination was made. The President looks forward to making continued progress with members on both sides of the aisle.  The President’s goal remains to ensure we pay the bills we’ve incurred, reopen the government and get back to the business of growing the economy, creating jobs and strengthening the middle class.”

As for Obamacare, the issue that prompted Republicans to refuse to pass a clean CR in the first place? Rogers said it was “not discussed in any substantive way.”

Speaking to reporters Thursday evening, House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said that he had let his staff go home for the evening while key GOP stakeholders spent the night coming up with a deal on which both sides could agree.

House Republicans would stay in close contact with the White House throughout the night, said Sessions, suggesting that the hope is to agree to a package that has Democrat support before moving forward.

“I’d be surprised and disappointed if I woke up at seven or eight o’clock in the morning and found out it’s a complete failure,” he said of negotiations. Tonight, he added, is “critical.”

Sessions also gave an on-camera interview with CNN, where he acknowledged that whatever deal House Republicans and the GOP broker will also have to pass muster with the rank and file.

“We need their votes,” Sessions said.

Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and the White House said that they would not negotiate a budget deal until Republicans agreed to open the government, not just extend the debt ceiling.

Emma Dumain contributed to this report.

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