BREAKING: Party leaders emerged following a two-hour meeting at the White House still without a long-term spending deal, but appear to have made significant progress in that direction. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) made brief statements at a rare joint-press appearance — perhaps the most telling sign that a deal is close — and said that staff members would continue negotiating “through the night.”
“We’ve narrowed the issues significantly,” Reid said. “I have confidence that we can get this done. We’re not there yet, but hope lies eternal.”
Boehner was a bit more hesitant, saying “some progress” had been made, but that “honest differences” remain. “I want to reiterate that there’s no agreement on a number and there’s no agreement on the policy riders,” he said, repeating the same line he has been using all week.
President Obama made a separate appearance before the press, hailing the “productive” nature of the talks and the “narrow differences” that remain, but with a heavy dose of ‘adult-in-the-room’ admonishment over the prospect of a government shutdown. “It would be inexcusable… [if] we can’t get this done,” he said. “There is no reason why we should not be able to complete a deal, there’s no reason why we should have a government shutdown, unless we’ve made a decision that politics is more important than [everyday Americans].”
He promised to “keep on pounding away at this thing” and to summon leaders back to White House on Thursday if necessary. Lawmakers have until midnight on April 8 to reach a compromise.