He did not detail the remaining disagreements between Democrats and the White House and congressional Republicans, which have prompted days of tense negotiations over a bill to fund the federal government.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) issued a joint statement that simply said, “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 statement read. Obama, too, said differences were “narrowed” in the night meeting.
Obama said that because the government was preparing for a shutdown, an agreement needed to be reached early Friday.
“I expect an answer in the morning and my hope is that I’ll be able to announce to the American people relatively early in the day that a shutdown has been averted,” Obama said.
After the meeting, the White House canceled Obama’s scheduled trip Friday to Indianapolis to discuss hybrid-transporation technology.
The leaders gathered hours after the House of Representatives defied a White House veto threat and approved a one-week stopgap spending bill. Republicans said the bill would head off the shutdown this weekend, but Democratic opponents said contains unacceptable cuts and policy provisions.
The House passed the temporary funding bill by a vote of 247 to 181. Before the vote, the White House warned that Obama would veto the measure if it reached his desk — an event considered unlikely given strong opposition in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
After an earlier White House meeting Thursday, Boehner told reporters: “There is no agreement on a number, there is no agreement on the policy.” He added, “We are not there yet.”
Reid, standing beside Boehner, said he was “disappointed” that a deal has not been struck so far, “but I am pleased that we are still working on getting there.” He warned that a government shutdown “of no matter how long” would cause economic damage, including a drop in U.S. gross domestic product. “It’s not easy to do, but it’s doable,” he said of efforts to reach an agreement.
Neither man would detail Thursday afternoon exactly what the disagreements were. Asked whether the impasse was over policy provisions or the amount of cuts, Reid said simply that “everything is in play.”
Boehner said Obama told him during the session that he would veto the temporary funding measure. “I did express my disappointment that he suggested he would veto that bill,” Boehner said.
White House officials would not immediately comment on the meeting or the progress of negotiations after it ended.