Dialing for a deal?
House Speaker Boehner (R-OH) and President Obama talk Friday evening about budget negotiations
April 8th, 2011
07:31 PM ET
Government shutdown fears prompt cancellation of first family's vacation
April 8th, 2011
06:34 PM ET

Government shutdown fears prompt cancellation of first family's vacation

(WASHINGTON) CNN–As last minute negotiations continue to avert a government shutdown set for midnight Friday, the first family has cancelled a planned weekend getaway to Williamsburg, VA. The White House announced late Friday afternoon that “The President will remain in Washington, DC this weekend as he continues to work with Congressional leaders to reach an agreement on the budget. The First Family’s trip to Williamsburg has been postponed.”  Williamsburg is 150 miles south of Washington, DC and was the 17th century capital of the colony of Virginia.  In 2005, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip visited the area to commemorate the founding of nearby Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America.

April 8th, 2011
05:05 PM ET

White House source on averting government shutdown: "more optimistic"

(WASHINGTON) CNN–A source at the White House tells CNN: “We are more optimistic now than we were 4 hours ago.”

The same source also says there’s a “good chance” that we’ll hear from the president today.

Government shutdown hits close to home for White House
In the White House itself, only about 120 people will report to work if the government shuts down Friday night.
April 8th, 2011
01:23 PM ET

Government shutdown hits close to home for White House

WASHINGTON (CNN)–As the clock continues to tick down to a government shutdown Friday night, the White House is moving forward with plans to make-do with a skeleton staff.  Normally 1,781 people work in the Executive Office of the President, which staffs the White House offices, the residence, the vice president's office and residence and other critical departments like the National Security staff, the Council on Economic Advisors and the office of the National Drug Czar.  If the government shuts down Friday at midnight, only about a quarter of those staffers will remain because their positions will be deemed "excepted" or "exempted" which is bureaucracy speak for people essential to allow the executive offices to continue to run. But it's a bare bones staff. 

In the White House itself, only about 120 people will report to work after Friday night’s deadline.  That's fewer that one quarter of the regular staff.  The people who will be reporting to work are higher level officials including special assistants to the president, commissioned officers and those whose positions required Senate confirmation.  According to the contingency plan for the Executive Office of the President, this staff  “will support the President in the discharge of his constitutional duties including staff required to work with Congress in the enactment of appropriations."    FULL POST

Shutdown looms
Another late night at the White House Thursday as President Obama spoke in the briefing room after talks between congressional leaders seemingly stalled. The president said, ""Because the machinery of the shutdown is necessarily starting to move, I expect an answer in the morning, and my hope is that I'll be able to announce to the American people sometime relative early in the day that a shutdown has been averted."
April 8th, 2011
10:54 AM ET

Shutdown looms

Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Friday morning that the abortion issue is the lone remaining stumbling block for negotiators trying to reach a budget agreement that would prevent a government shutdown.

"This all deals with women's health. Everything (else) has been resolved. Everything," Reid said. "It's an ideological battle. It has nothing to do with fiscal integrity in this country."

Republicans have been pushing to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood during the budget talks. They are also trying to get federal dollars now set aside for family planning and women's health turned into block grants for states, according to a Democratic source.

Such a move - opposed by Democrats, according to the source - would give governors and state legislatures more ability to cut funding for services opposed by conservatives.

A spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, immediately disputed Reid's assertion that abortion is the key sticking point.

"While nothing will be decided until everything is decided, the largest issue is still spending cuts," Michael Steel said. "The American people want to cut spending to help the private sector create jobs - and the Democrats that run Washington don't."  (follow live blogging on the latest developments)

POTUS schedule for Friday, April 8
Daybreak at the White House
April 8th, 2011
07:59 AM ET

POTUS schedule for Friday, April 8

As the budget deadline looms, the president postponed his trip to Indianapolis today.

Instead, Obama will attend meetings today at the White House.

As of now, there are no public events scheduled – not even a press briefing – but Obama himself said last night: "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."


Topics: Daily Schedule
April 8th, 2011
01:45 AM ET

White House budget meeting yields progress but no deal

WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama’s emergency budget meeting with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lasted for 50 to 55 minutes according to a top White House aide, before ending without an agreement.

The official described the tone of the Oval Office meeting as “serious, focused and candid.” 

In recent White House budget negotiations President Obama and Vice President Biden would at times dismiss advisers and aides in order to have direct talks with the two Congressional leaders, but Thursday night was different according to a senior administration official.

FULL POST


Topics: Budget • President Obama • The News