Obama calls congressional leaders as shutdown deadline draws closer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama placed separate calls to congressional leaders on Monday evening as a midnight deadline for a government shutdown drew closer, a White House official said.

It was Obama's first call to House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner in more than a week, and a spokesman for Boehner said it lasted less than 10 minutes and covered Obama's healthcare law.

"The speaker told the president that Obamacare is costing jobs and that American families are being denied basic fairness when big businesses are getting exemptions that they are not," said Brendan Buck, spokesman for Boehner.

Obama also called Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, the White House official said.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland; Editing by Eric Beech)