BUDGET BATTLE

Obama Calls Leaders to Oval Office as Shutdown Looms

President Obama called congressional leaders to the Oval Office Wednesday evening as the hours dwindle before a government shutdown. Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner will meet at 8:45 p.m. after an afternoon of negotiations, which Reid said left him “feeling better today than I did yesterday” about reaching a deal. Meanwhile, House Republicans put forward another stopgap bill that would fund the government for a week and the military for the rest of the year, even though Obama has objected to passing another short-term budget compromise. The stopgap bill is an attempt to shift blame onto the president if Democrats refuse to pass it. Boehner said Friday that Democrats “win” if the lights go out, but said that Obama and the Democrats have failed to lead on a compromise. Around 800,000 government employees will be furloughed if the shutdown happens, and D.C. public services, including trash pickup, will be suspended.