President Barack Obama has invited all 232 Republican members of the U.S. House to the White House Thursday, for talks on ending the government shutdown and raising the debt limit.
But spokesman Jay Carney says the president is disappointed that House Speaker John Boehner is sending only 18 of the Republicans to the talks, and only those with leadership posts.
The president met with House Democrats on Wednesday to talk strategy.
All sides say it is important to talk, and Carney says the president believes House Republicans will "do the right thing" and pass bills to lift the debt limit and reopen the government.
Mr. Obama says failing to reauthorize America's ability to borrow money to pay its bills would be a catastrophe for the world economy.
But Boehner is demanding negotiations on cutting spending and on the president's health care program before letting the House vote.
Mr. Obama says he will not negotiate while under threat.
The shutdown, now in its second week, has closed all but the most essential government services and has furloughed more than 800,000 workers. Some of those workers have returned to their jobs but do not know when they will get paid.
President Obama said Wednesday he wants death benefits to the families of U.S. service members killed in combat restored immediately. The House voted unanimously to do that. The measure now goes to the Senate.
A private charity says it will pay the benefits and other expenses for the families until the federal benefits are restored.