President Obama and Congressional leaders cited limited progress but still had yet to reach a budget deal to avert a government shutdown after a emergency late-night meeting at the White House Wednesday.
Emerging from a meeting with Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Obama said the talks were “frank and constructive” but failed to produce the necessary compromises to strike a deal.“I remain confident that we will be able to complete a deal,” Obama said in an impromptu appearance before reporters. “But it’s going to require a sufficient sense of urgency from those involved that a government shutdown has real consequences for real people.”
Boehner was more specific, saying that disagreements remain on both the overall figure for the bill funding the government through September, as well as the policy riders, additions to the bill Republicans are pushing on everything from abortion to climate change.
“We do have some differences, but I do think we made some progress,” Boehner said. “I want to reiterate that there’s no agreement on the numbers. There’s no agreement on the policy riders.”
Reid said the two sides had “narrowed the issues significantly” but had yet to come to a consensus.
“I have confidence that we can get this done,” he said. “We’re not there yet. But hope lies eternal.”
Obama cited an ABC News interview of J.T. Henderson of Kentucky who said he and his family were counting on their tax refund to help pay their bills and chided congressional leaders for failing to come to an agreement.
“All this political grandstanding has real effects, it trickles down,” Obama said. “There are real ramifications all across this economy. At a time when the country is coming out of an extraordinarily deep recession, it would be inexcusable” to have a government shutdown.
The White House and congressional staffs were going to work through the night to come closer to a deal, Obama added.
“We’re going to keep pounding away at this,” he said.