There are new signs Friday that the president is willing to negotiate on a deal to avoid a debt ceiling default. While there are still no plans to re-open the government, both sides seem ready to talk after a successful meeting.
On day 11 of the federal government shutdown, negotiations continued behind closed doors. Friday morning Senate Republicans met with the President at the White House.
The most encouraging news came from a Thursday night discussion between House Republicans and the president.
"We had a very useful meeting. It was clarifying, I think, for both sides as to where we are," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said.
"The president is happy that cooler heads at least seem to be prevailing in the House, that there at least seems to be recognition that default is not an option. We'll see what they're able to pass and consider it then," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday.
In Thursday's meeting, Republicans presented a new plan that would raise the debt ceiling for six weeks as talks about a broader budget deal continue.
The president neither accepted nor rejected the offer. The White House has been pushing for an extension of a least a year, but now there seems room for negotiation.
"Longer is better, but avoiding a crisis is better than having a crisis," Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said.
Stocks on Wall Street rose Thursday after news of progress in Washington. The Dow Jones closed up 323 points -- its best day all year.
"The situation going on in Washington has put a tremendous amount of pressure on our market and investors have been waiting for an opportunity to come back into this market. The information we got today of a short-term resolution clearly is positive news," Meridian Equity Partners' Jonathan Corpina said.
Meanwhile, in another step forward Thursday, the president signed a bill into law that provides benefits to the families of fallen troops during the shutdown. The measure passed the House and Senate unanimously.
Before the bill was signed, a private group called the Fischer House Foundation had been making payments to soldiers' families from its own funds.
Pentagon officials plan to reimburse the Foundation at the end of the shutdown.