Emerging from the Oval Office just after 10:30 on Wednesday night, President Obama said he and Congressional leaders had moved closer to an agreement to fund the government through the end of the year but disagreements remained, and the sides would work through the night to reach a deal.
"I remain confident that if we're serious about getting something done, we should be able to complete a deal and get it passed and avert a shutdown," Obama told reporters. "But it's going to require a sufficient sense of urgency from all parties involved."
The president called the conclave after House Speaker John Boehner, who needs 218 votes to pass a budget, planned to bring a one-week stopgap measure to the floor even though the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected a temporary spending measure.
The meeting lasted roughly an hour and a half. Obama called it "productive," and said that the differences between the two parties are "relatively narrow." He warned that a government shutdown "could have real consequences for real people."
A government shutdown would probably hurt Republicans politically, but Boehner is trying to muster a majority of his conference behind a proposal to cut spending by tens of billions of dollars less than the figure that many conservatives have insisted upon. In an interview to be broadcast on ABC News on Thursday morning, Boehner said there was no daylight between his position and that of the tea party's, according to excerpts released by the network.
Wednesday night, Boehner told reporters said that there was "some progress," despite "honest differences." Still, he emphasized that "there is no agreement on a number and no agreement on the policy. Intent on both sides to continue to work together to try to resolve this."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, speaking alongside Boehner, struck a brighter tone, saying there had been "significant" progress toward a deal. "Hope springs eternal," Reid said.