WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama summoned congressional leaders to the White House on the second day of a partial government shutdown that has furloughed hundreds of thousands of workers and closed military cemeteries as far away as France. Republican leaders welcomed the afternoon meeting but questioned whether Democrats were ready to deal.
Much of the government's operations were put on hold early Tuesday - ruining vacations, robbing businesses of customers and even idling many in the nation's intelligence force - in a dispute over Republicans' efforts to block or postpone Obama's health care law.
Obama repeatedly has said he won't negotiate changes in the law in exchange for reopening the government. Some in both parties have ominously suggested the impasse might last for weeks, with tea party-backed conservatives especially committed to the fight. But a few Republicans seem ready to blink.
House Speaker John Boehner's office cast the White House invitation as a sign the president might be backing down.