WASHINGTON--Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.), speaking from the Senate floor on Thursday morning, was gloomy about the prospects of striking a budget deal by midnight Friday to avoid a federal government shutdown. Meanwhile, Reid and House Speaker John Boehner have been called to the White House this morning for a meeting with President Obama and Vice President Biden at 1 p.m. est.
"The numbers are basically there," Reid said. "But I'm not nearly as optimistic, and that's an understatement, as I was 11 hours ago. The numbers are extremely close. Our difference are no longer over how much savings we get on government spending.
"The only thing holding up an agreement is an ideology," Reid said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) followed Reid on the House floor and in his speech he said, "In other words, if a shutdown does occur, our Democrat friends have no one to blame but themselves -- because they have done nothing whatsoever to prevent it."
The Illinois senators, Dick Durbin, a Democrat, and Mark Kirk, a Republican were optimistic about closing a budget pact while speaking during their joint Illinois breakfast on Thursday morning. Said Kirk, "At the last hour, this will get settled."