President Obama, saying the government was already “starting to move” on a federal shutdown, came out of another high-stakes evening meeting Thursday with congressional leaders without aÂ budget deal that could keep the government running.
“I’m not prepared yet to express wild optimism, but I think we are further along today than we were yesterday,” Obama said in the White House briefing room after the meeting with House Speaker John Boehner and SenateÂ MajorityÂ LeaderÂ HarryÂ Reid.
Yet with a shutdown possible as early as midnight at the end of Friday, Obama said he is pressing Democrats and Republicans to reach an agreement by Friday morning.
“Because the machinery of the shutdown is starting to move, I expect an answer in the morning,”Â Obama said. “And my hope is that I’ll be able to announce to the American people sometime relatively early in the day that a shutdown has been averted.”
The latest White House summit came hours after the House passed a stopgap budget bill that would fund the government for one week and the military for the rest of the year, though Senate Democrats oppose it and the president has vowed to veto it.
The Republican-authored packageÂ passed on a 247-181 vote, mostly with GOP support. The vote was a last-ditch attempt to avert a government shutdown as Congress nears a Friday deadline, and the chances of that happening didn’t seem to improve as of Thursday afternoon.
Seconds after the vote, Reid and Boehner emerged from a White House meeting to declare there was still no deal to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year.
“There is no agreement on a number. There (is) no agreement on the policy issues,” Boehner said. “We’re continuing to work toward an agreement. … But we are not there yet.”
The returned to the White House Thursday evening but again failed to reach an agreement.
This time, Boehner and Reid did not give a live statement for reporters, instead issuing a joint written statement: “We have narrowed the issues, however, we have not yet reached an agreement. We will continue to work through the night to attempt to resolve our remaining differences.”
Even if they were able to strike an agreement on a budget for the rest of the year, it’s doubtful they would be able to write it and put it to a vote before the shutdown deadline. That’s why some lawmakers have tried to give the negotiations a buffer period by pushing a stopgap bill. The Republican proposal which passed the House would cut $12 billion and keep the government running for a week.
But the White House issued a statement Thursday afternoon declaring that Obama would veto the measure.
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