Congress continues negotiations; Feds frustration grows

Friday - 4/8/2011, 7:08am EDT

WFED's Jason Miller

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By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

President Barack Obama expects an answer this morning on whether a government shutdown will be averted.

Obama said last night after a meeting with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that some progress has been made, but there still are some major differences.

"What I've said to the Speaker and what I've said to Harry Reid is because the machinery of the shutdown is necessarily starting to move, I expect an answer in the morning," Obama said. "And my hope is, is that I'll be able to announce to the American people sometime relatively early in the day that a shutdown has been averted, that a deal has been completed that has very meaningful cuts in a wide variety of categories, that helps us move in the direction of living within our means, but preserves our investments in things like education and innovation, research, that are going to be important for our long-term competitiveness. That's what I hope to be able to announce tomorrow. There's no certainty yet, but I expect an answer sometime early in the day."

Boehner and Reid issued a joint statement after the White House meeting ended Thursday night.

"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."

Preparations underway

In the meantime, agencies are preparing to close down starting at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

The Office of Management and Budget issued shutdown guidance late Thursday afternoon giving agencies insight into everything from technology use to how to how to deal with contractors to reporting on Monday for four hours to conduct certain closing activities.

OMB also held a call on Thursday with federal employee unions detailing guidance and trying to answer a host of questions.

The Office of Personnel Management updated its frequently asked questions late on Thursday as well.

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