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Gov't Shutdown Gets Closer: Obama, Boehner, Reid Don't Reach Deal

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  Yet again, President Obama and the leaders of the House and Senate gathered at the White House and failed to reach an agreement on how to keep the federal government funded and open beyond an end-of-Friday deadline.

"We have narrowed the issues," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a joint written statement after their fourth meeting at the White House Thursday evening. "However, we have not yet reached an agreement. We will continue to work through the night to attempt to resolve our remaining differences."

It was the second meeting with Obama Thursday, and the statement sounded strikingly similar to comments following the earlier White House meetings.

President Obama claimed "additional progress" while noting time was growing short to avert a government shutdown that would have wide effects, including perhaps 800,000 federal worker furloughs, curtailment of public services such as mortgage, passport and loan processing, and disruption to a recovering economy.

Others have noted a shutdown likely would delay many tax refunds and disrupt pay for military personnel.

"I'm not yet prepared to express wild optimism, but I think we are further along today than we were yesterday," Obama said of the negotiations that would continue overnight.

"I expect an answer [from Reid and Boehner] in the morning," he said. "My hope is that I'll be able to announce to the American people sometime early in the day that a shutdown has been averted."

But yet again, he declined to specify specific points of disagreement in the negotiations -- believed to center not only around a dollar amount to be cut, but also which parts of the federal budget to cut and whether Republican "riders" on subjects such as abortion funding and environmental regulation will be part of an agreement.

Meanwhile, there are signs the negotiating atmosphere may be getting stickier as the negotiations come down to the wire.

Defiant House Republicans Thursday passed a temporary budget measure that would ensure U.S. troops are paid through September and keep the government running for another week, hours after President Obama threatened to veto it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

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