WASHINGTON (AFP) – An impatient President Barack Obama is in a high-stakes battle to clinch a budget deal and avert a government shutdown by Friday's deadline, but his dramatic intervention failed to break the deadlock.
Obama upped the ante after he met top Republican and Democratic leaders at the White House, warning it would be "inexcusable" not to resolve the standoff this week. Yet his administration has already warned departments to prepare to shutter the government.
"The only question is whether politics or ideology are going to get in the way of preventing a government shutdown," Obama said at an impromptu White House press conference.
A government shutdown could see hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed, national parks closed and non-essential services halted when the money approved by Congress for their operations runs out at midnight on Friday.