From ABC News' Jon Garcia:
After a late night, 90-minute meeting in the Oval Office with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner, President Obama declared no deal in the budget standoff but still called the meeting “productive” and is confident a deal can get done before a government shutdown comes.
“I thought the meetings were frank, they were constructive and what they did was narrow the issues and clarify the issues that are still outstanding,” Obama said, though he declined to elaborate on the sticking points.
“I remain confident that if we are serious about getting something done, we should be able to complete the deal and get it passed and avert a shutdown. But it’s going to require a sufficient sense of urgency from all parties involved. It means the people will have to recognize that a government shutdown has real consequences for real people,” Obama said from the podium in the briefing room.
The “real person” Obama chose to highlight was Kentucky tax-payer JT Henderson, who was featured in Jake Tapper’s World News spot tonight. Obama cited Henderson’s worry about getting his tax rebate, quoting Henderson as saying ‘all of this political grandstanding has effects that trickle down to normal, everyday Americans.’ I could not have said it better myself,” Obama said.
Henderson and his wife had to file their taxes by mail this year because they are set to receive the adoption refund. (Electronic filing with the IRS will not be affected by a government shutdown.) They adopted Tedi, 4, from Ethiopia in July 2010. Henderson works in development for a non-profit in Louisville, Ky., and his wife is a first-year pediatric resident at Kosair Children's Hospital.
They have struggle with large bills from medical school loans, moving expenses and Tedi's adoption. News of a government shutdown and subsequent halting of IRS functions has not set well with them.
"I am worried about how this government shutdown will affect our refund," he said. "We live check to check."
Obama vowed an around-the-clock effort and promised a status check tomorrow morning. “ If we haven't made progress, we're going to go back at it again. And we're going to keep on pounding away at this thing because I'm absolutely convinced that we can get this done,” Obama said. “There’s no reason why we should not be able to complete a deal. There’s no reason why we should have a government shutdown — unless we've made a decision that politics is more important than folks like JT Henderson.”
Obama declined to answer questions.
After Obama was finished making his points, Boehner and Reid took their turn in front of the cameras, making their respective points outside the White House.
Reid described the meeting: “It was very honest, we’ve narrowed the issues significantly and we’re going to continue working. Our staffs are going to work thru night. The speaker and I will get back together tomorrow morning and see how they did and continue. I have confidence that we can get this done. We are not there yet but the hope lies eternal.”
Boehner echoed Reid but added his own twist that no numbers and policy have been settled on. “We did have a productive conversation this evening. we do have some honest differences but I do think we made some progress. But I want to reiterate that there is no agreement on a number and there no agreement the policy. But there’s an intent on both sides to continue to work together to try to resolve this. No one want govt to shut down. We are going to continue to work throughout the night and tomorrow.”
They declined to respond to questions including what the sticking points were or if they are on the same page. Asked how much longer will it take, Reid replied off camera “We’ll get it done.”
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF THE OBAMA REMARKS BELOW:
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON BUDGET TALKS
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
10:44 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening, everybody. I'm going to just have a few quick remarks.
We just had a productive meeting with Speaker Boehner, as well as Majority Leader Reid. We discussed the impasse that we're currently at with respect to the budget, and I thought the meetings were frank, they were constructive, and what they did was narrow the issues and clarify the issues that are still outstanding.
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. But it’s going to require a sufficient sense of urgency from all parties involved. It means that people have to recognize that a government shutdown has real consequences for real people.
There was an interview that was done tonight on one of the nightly news networks — a man from Kentucky named J.T. Henderson. He said he’s counting on his tax rebate because his family has been scraping by, and he might not get it if the government shuts down. So J.T. said if he could speak directly to all of us in Washington he’d tell us that all of this political grandstanding has effects as it trickles down to normal, everyday Americans.
I could not have said it better myself. A shutdown could have real effects on everyday Americans. That means that small business owners who are counting on that loan to open their business, to make payroll, to expand, suddenly they can't do it. It means folks who are potentially processing a mortgage; they may not be able to get it. It means that hundreds of thousands of workers across the country suddenly are without a paycheck. Their families are counting on them being able to go to work and do a good job.
There are ramifications all across this economy. And at a time when the economy is still coming out of an extraordinarily deep recession, it would be inexcusable, given the relatively narrow differences when it comes to numbers between the two parties, that we can't get this done.
So my expectation is that folks are going to work through the night. In the morning I will check in with the respective staffs of the Speaker and the Majority Leader, as well as my team here. If we haven't made progress, we're going to go back at it again. And we're going to keep on pounding away at this thing because I'm absolutely convinced that we can get this done.
There’s no reason why we should not be able to complete a deal. There’s no reason why we should have a government shutdown — unless we've made a decision that politics is more important than folks like J.T. Henderson.
That's not why we we're elected. That's not why we were sent here. And I want to meet the expectations of the American people in terms of delivering for them.
All right? Thank you very much, everybody.
END 10:46 P.M. EDT