Congressional leaders saw signs of progress yesterday for a budget deal that would cut billions of dollars in spending in time to prevent a government shutdown after Friday.
With time running short, Republican and Democratic aides said negotiators were making progress on a compromise that would avert a federal government shutdown that could idle more than 800,000 workers.
A government shutdown, the first in 15 years, would ripple through an economy still recovering from the worst recession since the 1930s. Obama urged both parties to compromise and said failure to reach agreement would hurt the economy just as it was gaining momentum.
Both parties blamed each other for the political showdown, which will set the stage for more budget battles ahead and promises to echo through the 2012 election campaign.