President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House John Boehner met again tonight, for the fourth time in 48 hours, in an effort to avoid a looming government shutdown. And, again, they failed to find agreement, further stoking fears that a government shutdown is inevitable. The mood following tonight's meeting was decidedly less hopeful than it was after last night's summit and some of the progress that had been achieved earlier today.
"I'm not prepared to express wild optimism," the President said after the meeting, according to CNN. "I think we are futher along today than we were yesterday." The President told Reid and Boehner that "he wanted an answer Friday morning on whether a deal would get reached."
In a joint statement issue after the meeting the two Congressmen stated that, "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."
The deadline for Congress to pass a federal budget before money stops flowing and the government shuts down is midnight on Friday, which is when the current stopgap budget bill runs out. The House passed another stopgap measure on Thursday by a vote of 247 to 181, but President Obama has vowed to veto it. According to the New York Times, "that measure would finance most of the government for another week, and the Pentagon for the rest of the fiscal year, while cutting $12 billion in current spending."