Congress, White House Still Coming up Short on Budget

April 7, 2011  |  

(Wall Street Journal) — President Barack Obama emerged from a late-night meeting Wednesday with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying the two parties had moved closer to a spending agreement to avoid a government shutdown Friday, but no deal had been struck.  “What [the talks] did was narrow the issues and clarify the issues that are still outstanding,” Mr. Obama said. He was confident a deal could be reached to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, he said, but “it’s going to require a sufficient sense of urgency from all parties involved.”

Staffers from the White House and the offices of Messrs. Boehner and Reid were set to work through night, and Mr. Obama said he would check in with them Thursday morning—a day and a half before the deadline—and summon the parties back to the White House if necessary.  “We’re going to keep pounding away at this thing,” Mr. Obama said.    Messrs. Reid and Boehner appeared together on the White House driveway after the session, itself an unusual occurrence. Mr. Boehner said the meeting was “productive,” but added, “We do have honest differences.”  Mr. Reid was more positive, issuing a statement saying, “I am hopeful that we will be able to announce a compromise agreement soon.”

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