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The Nation

April 7, 2011

GOP prepares 1-week extension as shutdown looms

WASHINGTON — Republicans battling with President Barack Obama over budget cuts plan to hold a House vote Thursday on one-week legislation to avoid a government shutdown, despite opposition from the White House and Senate Democrats pressing for a longer-term solution.

The party leaders debated as the clock ticked toward a midnight Friday deadline. Even a brief shutdown could affect a wide range of Americans, from troops fighting abroad to tourists planning trips to national parks.

The move by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to advance the interim budget measure angered his Democratic negotiating counterparts and came after slower-than-hoped White House talks Wednesday night. The president said Republicans need to display more urgency, while Boehner said honest differences remain.

Thursday's GOP measure would combine a full-year Pentagon budget with a big slice of cuts to domestic programs as the price to keep the government running. Democrats and the White House oppose the idea, preferring to focus on the broader legislation and not forfeit leverage.

"It's going to require a sufficient sense of urgency," Obama said, "to complete a deal and get it passed and avert a shutdown."

Obama emerged before reporters to declare his differences with the House Republicans were narrowing but both sides were still stuck in an impasse.

"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. "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."

After the late-night White House session, Boehner said: "We did have a productive conversation this evening. We do have some honest differences, but I do think we made some progress. ... There's an attempt on both sides to continue to work together to try to resolve this."

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