A partial U.S. government shutdown has stumbled into its third day with no end to the deadlock in sight.
U.S. congressional leaders met for about an hour late Wednesday with President Barack Obama, but emerged from the closed-door session with no progress on the budget impasse that triggered the shutdown.
House Speaker John Boehner said President Obama told him he will not negotiate a deal to reopen the government. Republican Boehner said he told the president he wants a discussion of what he called the "fairness" of Mr. Obama's signature health insurance program, the Affordable Care Act.
Republicans want to tie funding the government to a delay or defunding of the health care program.
Wednesday's failed meeting raised fears the government shutdown could persist into mid-October and run up against a crucial deadline for raising the nation's borrowing limit to avoid a debt default.
Congress must renew the government's authority to borrow money by October 17 or risk a first-ever federal default, which many economists say would threaten the world economy.
A White House statement said during his meeting with congressional leaders, Obama repeated his refusal to negotiate over extending the government's debt limit.
Republicans have indicated they could move their campaign against the health care law to the debt fight.
Funding for much of the government has been cut off since Tuesday, when a Republican effort to force changes to the new health care law stalled a short-term, normally routine spending bill.
The shutdown has furloughed more than 800,000 federal workers, about one third of the federal work force. People classified as essential employees, such as air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and most food inspectors, continue to work, as do the U.S. broadcasting services, including VOA.
The government shutdown also forced President Obama to cut short his trip to Asia for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and East Asia summits next week.
Implementation of the Affordable Care Act, nicknamed "Obamacare," went ahead as scheduled Tuesday. It is intended to provide health insurance coverage to millions of Americans who otherwise cannot afford or get coverage.
Republican opponents of Obamacare say it forces people, including small businesses, to buy expensive insurance policies against their will, hurting the economy.