Obama huddles with Democrats amid US default threat

President Barack Obama was meeting with Senate Democrats in the Oval Office Saturday as he and Congress struggled to formulate a plan that re-opens government and extends US borrowing authority.

The White House provided barely 15 minutes' notice for the 3:15 pm (1915 GMT) meeting, which comes as the onus for cobbling together a crisis-aversion strategy shifts from Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives to members of the Senate.

Washington has barely five days to strike a deal that raises the US debt ceiling before the Treasury exhausts its borrowing authority and risks failing to pay the country's obligations.

House Republicans earlier signaled their deep frustration with Obama, accusing him of sabotaging negotiations on raising the debt ceiling.

The focus quickly shifted to the Senate, where Democratic and Republican leaders met behind closed doors for what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid described as "extremely cordial" first talks, but which so far have yielded "nothing conclusive."