Meeting with Congressional leadership to avert gov't shutdown "constructive": Obama

13:06, April 07, 2011      

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U.S. President Barack Obama said Wednesday night a just concluded meeting with Congressional leadership on budget is constructive, and that he is confident an agreement to avert a government shutdown will be reached.

Obama called House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to the White House for a hastily arranged late night meeting, after negotiations during the day made no headway.

Obama emerged from the hour-long meeting, saying they have narrowed the issues, and that there is no reason they can't get this done. He said to avert a shutdown, both parties must have a sense of urgency.

Reid and Boehner later appeared together to say their staff will work through the night, and see where they are in the morning. Boehner also said the meeting was constructive, and made some progress, but apparently no deal has been made.

The White House and the Republicans are at loggerheads over the budget issue. The Congress sent Obama a short term funding measure on March 17, keeping the government running until Friday, and officials have been working to prevent a government shutdown. Before that, the federal government was funded by stopgap bills since the beginning of the current fiscal year last October.

Obama called Boehner and Reid over the phone in the morning. Before that, he met with them in the White House on Tuesday. Reid and Boehner then met on Capitol Hill Tuesday afternoon after the White House meeting.

Earlier Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama would call a meeting at the White House if necessary.

Source: Xinhua
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