Democratic and Republican leaders remain at an impasse in talks over approving a new budget and avoiding the first government shutdown in 15 years. On Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner said Republicans might now seek up to $40 billion in cuts — around $7 billion more than both sides had discussed over the past week. Failure to agree on a budget would lead to a federal government shutdown beginning Friday at midnight. At the White House, President Obama rejected a short-term Republican proposal to cut spending by $12 billion in return for another week of government funding. Obama also criticized Republicans for targeting education and medical research.
President Obama: “Given the fiscal situation that we’re in, everybody has got to make some sacrifices. Everybody has got to take a haircut. And we’ve been willing to do that. But what we’re not willing to do is to go out there and say we’re going to cut another 60,000 head slot starts — Head Start slots. We’re not going to be willing to go out there and say that we’re going to cut medical research. We’re not going to cut those things that we think are absolutely vital to the growth of the American economy and putting people back to work.”