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As it happened: Battle over US budget

This concludes our live coverage of the race to reach a budget deal and avert a government shutdown. Thank you for joining us this evening.

0030The House has passed the temporary measure to keep the government funded until next Thursday. By then, a broader bipartisan spending bill can be written, which will then be passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

0018Members of the House of Representatives are voting on the stop-gap measure to keep the government running for the next week while the new budget bill is finalised.

0012 David in Dearborn, Michigan, writes: "It's about time. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are to blame for this; they let their politics get in the way of doing the right thing. More proof to me that our 'elected representatives' don't really give a damn about the citizens of this country."
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2353Emma, in the US, writes: "I am a British wife of a US Serviceman and to be honest the damage that has been done already to the military's morale here is pretty huge. Many would walk away right now if they could and probably will retire out much sooner than they would have. Leaving people hanging in the way they have was unacceptable, it put troops serving in Afghanistan and combat zones in more danger as their minds were not on the job in hand. These are men and women who should be concentrating on staying alive - not on worrying over whether their families would be safe, able to pay the rent and put food on the table."
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2350 Ziggy in Livingston, in the US state of New Jersey, writes: "It was obvious this deal would be reached. After what happened in 1995, the Republicans were playing chicken with the Democrats. All both parties care about now is getting elected in 2012."
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2345More reaction from top Senate Democrat Harry Reid: "This has been a long process, it has not been an easy process. Both sides have had to make tough choices, but tough choices are what this job is all about."


2332The Senate has rushed through the stop-gap measure needed to keep the government running and it will now go before the House for a vote.

2326Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also hails the deal. "This is historic, what we've done," he says.


2312Mr Obama has officially announced a deal has been reached, calling it the largest annual spending cut in US history. He lauds the fact that tourists coming to Washington this weekend will not be locked out of the Washington Monument and other sites, that small businesses will get the loans they need and that hundreds of thousands of government employees will be able to show up at work next week and get paid on time. He says both sides had to make tough decisions and give ground on priorities. Some cuts will be painful, he says, programmes people rely on will be cut back, and some needed infrastructure projects will be delayed. "We protected the investments we need to win the future," he says.

2305President Barack Obama is set to make a statement on the budget deal shortly.

2257Republican House Speaker John Boehner makes it official. At the capitol, he says he and Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid have come to an agreement that will cut spending. He says the House will vote tonight on a "bridge" bill to fund government operations into next week, which will give aides time to put the deal into legislative language. He expects a vote in the middle of next week. "This has been a lot of discussion and a long fight," he says. "We fought to keep government spending down because it really will create a better situation for job creators."

2248The plan - which has not yet been confirmed through official channels - would still have to be approved by both houses of Congress.

2249 Jake Tapper of ABC News tweets: "Dem and GOP sources: Deal is done and signed off on. $38.5b in cuts, no elimination of Planned Parenthood funding."

2246US media on Capitol Hill report a deal has been struck. It would cut $39bn from the budget between now and 30 September over last year's levels. ABC reports the deal leaves out the policy measures Republicans had sought.

2236Don Woodrow in Fairfield in the US state of California writes: "The Republicans are trying to make government overspending a new issue. For 60 years or more along with many other countries the US has built its whole structure on borrowed money. The whole American philosophy has to change to enable public spending to be reduced, but is something that has to be done gradually so as not to destroy the whole infrastructure of the country."
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2225 Jake Tapper of ABC News tweets: "Both sides reviewing language right now...nerd/staff level, at this point."

2222New York Democrat Anthony Weiner says on CNN: "Everything I'm hearing is there's something afoot. It sure seems like there's going to be something. The problem is we don't have any of the details."

2216 Brian Beutler of left-leaning politics website Talking Points Memo tweets: "What happens if the stopgap passes and doesn't get to the White House til 12:01? #oneminuteshutdown."

2158House Republicans have gone into a closed-door meeting, after walking by the pack of reporters and television cameras with lips tightly shut.

2133Dick Durbin of Illinois, the third ranking Democrat in the Senate, said negotiators had resolved the dispute over federal funding for women's healthcare, Reuters reports.

2128Alan Dobrowolski in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, writes: "Maybe - just maybe - a partial government shutdown is not such a bad idea. When business is not good, major industry will mandatory shut down for weeks for 'non-essential' employees to slow down revenue expenses. It's time for the civil servants in the US to face up to the fact that they are no longer a privileged class and need to face the same temporary and even scheduled layoffs that many of us have faced for years."
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2124Neil in Kaneohe in the US state of Hawaii writes: "This seems less and less like an effort to improve the country's economy and more and more like a way for the Democrats and Republicans to try to discredit each other. There's no way cutting out 800,000 government jobs is going to help strengthen the country or its economy in the long run, and this argument is harming everyone in the country."
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2119Republican Jeb Hensarling of Texas, a member of the House leadership, says Republicans will huddle at 2145 local time (0145 GMT) to discuss the negotiations, Reuters reports. He said no deal had been reached.

2115Welcome to the BBC's live coverage of the ongoing budget battle in Washington. A government shutdown is less than three hours away unless Congress acts to pass a budget measure of some sort, whether a short-term deal to push back the deadline for a bill or a full bill. Rumours are circulating on Capitol Hill that negotiators have reached the broad outlines of an agreement, but Republicans and Democrats have been trying to cool the chatter for fear a leak will scuttle any progress.

2058Tara Dooley in Santa Barbara in the US writes: "Not only have the Republicans made fiscal restraint a recent issue, they are to blame (along with complicit Democrats) for our state of endless war which can never be afforded. This money could have gone a long way towards rebuilding our infrastructure."
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2045 Ezra Klein of the Washington Post tweets: "At $39b the cuts will be $7b larger than Boehner initially proposed. Huge victory for house conservatives. And a big loss for the economy."

2042Republican House leaders have just told their caucus: "We would like to clear up some confusion and relay that there has not yet been a deal reached. The negotiations are ongoing."

2024The National Journal reports negotiators have reached an "outline" of a deal. Under that, spending for the remainder of the fiscal year would be cut $39bn below last year's level, Republicans would give up the controversial policy measures they have sought, and Congress would pass a short-term budget bill to give aides time to put the agreement into bill form. But the magazine cautions: "Leadership staff insist there is no deal yet."

2012The US state department says in the event of a shutdown, the following overseas posts will continue to operate at close to full staff: Japan, Malta, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, and Cote d'Ivoire. The department says 65% of domestic staff and 10% of overseas staff will be furloughed, but most overseas local hires will keep working due to local labour rules. And US citizens abroad will still have access to emergency services, including consular jail visits, emergency passport issuance, emergency repatriation, and medical evacuation loans.

1957President Barack Obama called House Speaker John Boehner at about 1830 local time to discuss the budget deadlock, a Republican aide tells Reuters news agency. The pair "spoke for several minutes" but reached "no resolution", the aide says. The White House says Mr Boehner was the one who made the call.

1949The BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan says the shutdown could affect many of the tourists who are visting from outside Washington DC. David Cleaves, who is here from Austin, Texas, with his niece and nephew, is disappointed that museums could be shut: "When the federal government shuts down, there's really nothing to do in this town. I guess we can walk up and down the Mall and look at the outsides of all the buildings. On the bright side, it can be a real-life lesson for the kids in the dysfunctional side of our democracy."


1943Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer has just put out a statement attacking Republicans on the policy measures they want to attach to the budget bill. "So far, even though Democrats have gone 70% of the way to Republicans' position, Republicans refuse to compromise on their divisive social agenda. As a result, Republicans are risking a shutdown that will harm the economy and negatively impact Americans.

1937Simon Sez in Atlanta, Georgia, US, writes: "Just under a third of our budget is comprised of military spending. If we reduce that by even 20% we have saved more than three times the amount the Republicans and Democrats are fighting about. If we then introduce a flat rate tax of 15% across the board, with no deductions for anyone, the government will make more revenue than before and will spend less on services to acquire that revenue. This two pronged approach could get us on a road to collective financial recovery, domestically, with the federal budgets over the next five years and may strengthen the position of the dollar as a trading and value holding currency internationally."
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1918In the thick of the budget fight, the White House has just made time to send out declarations recognising the upcoming National Crime Victims' Rights Week, Pan American Day and Pan American Week, and National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day.

1912 Amy in Cambridge in the US state of Massachusetts writes: "The Republicans are completely disingenuous. They had no problem endorsing massive deficit spending in the last administration (and all Republican administrations back to Reagan) but now they use it as a smoke screen to pass on their radical social agenda: a redistribution of wealth upward and destruction of the working class. I'm sickened by it."
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1908Good evening and welcome to the BBC's live event coverage of the ongoing budget battle in Washington. With less than five hours to go before the law funding most US government operations expires, Republican and Democratic negotiators have yet to reach an agreement that would avoid a shutdown. One sticking point: A series of "policy riders" Republicans have sought to attach to the budget bill that would attack Democratic priorities like environmental regulation and public grants for women's healthcare, which Republicans say amounts to government funding for abortion. Stay with us for the latest updates.

1856 Chris Hayes, Washington editor of liberal opinion journal the Nation, tweets: "Keep in mind D opening bid was +$40 bn, R bid was -$60 bn. We'll end up with -$38bn. So who won?."

1848On ABC News, political correspondent Jonathan Karl just said that if the entire US budget is the size of the earth, Republican and Democratic negotiators are fighting over a piece the size of Ecuador.

1843 Mark Knoller of CBS News tweets: "It's a Government Shutdown trifecta across the board on the network evening newscasts: All 3 lead with looming possible shutdown.."

1838In a brief debate on CNN, California Republican Congressman David Dreier said negotiators had resolved outstanding policy issues and all that remained was for them to come to an agreement on the levels of spending cuts. But he was challenged on that point by New York Democrat Anthony Weiner, who said Republicans were still pushing for the cuts to women's healthcare funding, for restrictions on environmental regulators, and for other policy "riders".

1818The National Journal has tallied up the number of workers from major US government departments and agencies who would be furloughed without pay in the event of a shutdown. The percentage varies greatly: Roughly 72% of 127,000 treasury department workers would stay home, while only 20% of Department of Homeland Security employees would, the magazine staff reports.

1805Bloomberg television's Lizzie O'Leary reports Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will speak on the Senate floor at 2000 local time (0000 BST)

1749 Michael Falcone of ABC News tweets: From 1976-2010, there were 17 govt shutdowns, half of those lasted 3 days or less http://abcn.ws/hjNLY0

1740 Matt Yglesias of Think Progress tweets: Who will be the first House Republican to demand defunding Planned Parenthood as a condition to raising the debt ceiling?

1731Glenn Thrush writes on the Politico website: For weeks, senior administration officials have fretted that Boehner himself doesn't have control of an obstreperous GOP caucus that includes dozens of unpredictable newly elected members. Administration negotiators are working under the assumption that Boehner, who has a reputation as dealmaker, has to prove his toughness to those members and other hard-liners allied with Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)

1723Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential candidate, is calling for Republicans to accept the White House compromise and move on. "Nobody's more pro-life than me. Nobody," Huckabee told the Fox Business Channel. "But as much as I want to see Planned Parenthood defunded, as much as I want to see NPR lose their funding, the reality is the president and the Senate are never gonna go along with that. So win the deal you can win and live to fight another day."

1711 Steven Dennis of Roll Call tweets: Republicans are coming out of the woodwork now pressuring Boehner to drop fight on Planned Parenthood, Isakson the latest.

1708Kevin in Santa Cruz, writes: "The scale of the cuts is unacceptable. We are facing a deficit of unheard of amounts and both Democrats and Republicans refuse to admit this. While I disagree with the Tea Party on most issues, the budget is not something we can ignore or dance around.... This will affect our children's grandchildren. We are setting up future generations for failure."

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1701The White House has released contigency plans for every government agency. You can find them on the White House website .

1653 Mark Knoller of CBS News tweets: Think it's hard getting a budget deal now? Wait'll Congress takes up raising the Debt Limit in a few weeks.

1649Isabelle in Washington DC, writes: "My husband works for the State Department. A shutdown would hurt us, but at least it would not "kill" us, since we have a prudent reserve in our savings account. Same time last year we were in the middle of buying a new house and that would have been the end of that. Most people do not have it to last very long without income."

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1643 Christiane Amanpour of ABC News tweets: Defense Dept says money to cover funeral costs would not be paid to families of soldiers killed in action in the case of a gov't #shutdown.

1632 DC Mayor Vincent Gray tweets: We are the only state/city gov in the entire US unable to use our own tax revenues to serve our own citizens during the federal shutdown.

1628A spokesman for Speaker John Boehner has denied Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid's claim that a deal was reached at the White House last night to make an additional $38 bn in cuts. Earlier Mr Reid had said he thought a deal had been agreed, but he received an email at 4am this morning saying "we've tried, but they backed off the number they'd agreed to".

1623President Obama has postponed his family outing to Williamsburg, a historical town in Virginia, this weekend because of the budget negotiations. "The president will remain in Washington, D.C. this weekend as he continues to work with congressional leaders to reach an agreement on the budget," a White House spokesman said.

1618Former House Speaker and possible 2012 Republican candidate Newt Gingrich - who was speaker during the last government shutdown in 1996 - has accused President Obama of playing politics with US troops. "President Obama is deliberately seeking to hold the men and women in uniform hostage so the politicians can fight over the budget and use the threat of not paying the troops their weapon," he said at Liberty University on Friday.

1556The BBC's North America editor Mark Mardell says: "Democrats are pushing their narrative with a passion, calling this 'the Republicans' war on women'. In a blame game, the important thing is to steam roller any competing story. So far the Republicans don't even have a story."

1555The Obama administration has said employees deemed "essential" and required to work through the shutdown will be paid when the budget bill eventually passes. But the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest union of federal workers, says it's unconstitutional to require employees to work without pay and says there is no guarantee Congress will keep the Obama administration's promise to reimburse the back pay. The union has filed a lawsuit.

1523Paul J Weighell in London, UK, writes: "The US overspend this year will be $1.3 trillion. To match, say, UK cuts levels and halve their deficit in four years, the US would have to cut public spending by $150bn each year, yet they face gridlock over the pathetic $35bn they propose to cut now. Americans, both Democrat and Republican have no idea whatsoever of the scale of their deficit problem. It is not an elephant they have in their room, it's a whole herd of dinosaurs."

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1520Ross Cypher-Burley in Washington DC writes: "I am sad to read that some people do not seem to realise the stress that the threat of the impending shutdown causes. My wife is a state department employee and the primary "bread winner". As a family, we rely on her salary to pay medical bills, utility bills and the rent. How can a government effectively abandon its own workforce, the very people that define it as a government and enact its policies? It makes me so angry that lawmakers make playthings with peoples' lives seemingly without thought for the very real consequences of their actions."

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1515A group of liberal House Democrats are holding a press conference hitting at the Republicans' "war on women". Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois said: "At this late hour, a shutdown of the entire government hinges on a Republican demand to take healthcare away from women. This is the wrong way to go."

1502The National Republican Congressional Committee has issued a press release saying: "The fundamental issue at hand is whether to make real spending cuts or continue to spend money we don't have and borrow it from countries like China instead."

1447 Congressman Anthony Weiner tweets: Here's an idea, if the final issues are about women's health, hows about we let a few women in "the room". #theygetit

1447 Glenn Thrush of Politico tweets: Whoa. POLITICO's Kate Nocera gets Kathleen Sebelius on Title X: "cutting funding would increase...abortions" http://politi.co/h9nbJQ

1440Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has suggested that Democrats might strip Planned Parenthood funding from the budget bill and hold a separate vote on it. "There will not be a (government) shutdown. At the 11th hour we're going to get an agreement," he told reporters.

1430 Don Gonyea of NPR tweets: @markknoller: QOTD: In Abu Dhabi, DefSec Gates heard to say: You know how things are in Washington when you'd rather be in Iraq. @CBSWalsh

1427 Ben Smith of Politico tweets: Staffer tells me: "The Speaker just told a member that he thinks they will get a deal by the end of the day."

1425The BBC's North America editor Mark Mardell says: "The Democrats are doing a better job of setting the narrative. John Boehner made a mistake allowing the President to speak for him last night and issuing a joint statement with Harry Reid. He is not doing a good job of selling his version of events. The Republicans are not making their case with any verve or enthusiasm. Mr Boehner's lack of fighting spirit suggest that he accepts he will get the blame for a shut down."

1416Mr Reid told reporters that he believes Speaker John Boehner is having a very difficult time selling the deal Republicans and Democrats reached at the White House last night - which would cut $78 bn from the budget - to his caucus.

1413Mr Reid emphasized the economic impact of a possible shutdown, saying that "our fragile economy will really be hurt". He noted that a five week shutdown would cause GDP to drop one whole percent. He said that if the government shutters "it will be crystal clear to Americans that Democrats were reasonable and Republicans were responsible for the shutdown".

1410Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, speaking to reporters, has said: "The House leaders have a very clear choice to make and they don't have much time to make that choice. They can keep their word and significantly cut the US deficit or they can shut down the government over women's access to health care. If that sounds ridiculous that's because it is ridiculous."

1404Paul Riche in Tuscon, AZ, writes: "This morning a small group of us had hiked to the top of a hill outside the city; white, mostly retired, males, liberal to conservative, unusually united in fury about the sheer triviality of these people in Washington. To close down government after failing to approve a budget half way through the fiscal year seemed beyond belief. Those anti-abortion and those pro-life agreed that it was farcical to attach riders on the issue; why argue about that while failing to keep the lights on? True rage, however, only surfaced when we realised that if they close down government, our national parks, as 'non-essential services', will be closed; we were sitting in a national forest recreation area, adjacent to a national park. We agreed there are many more important things to be kept open, but if we can't hike tomorrow, it's to the barricades!"

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1352The State Department has issued guidance on its shutdown activities. "Given the extreme nature of events, certain posts will be at 100% staffing, including Baghdad, Cairo, Islamabad, Kabul, Sana'a, Tokyo, Tunis, Valetta, and Abidjan." Visa services will be severely curtailed. Medical assistance, refugee assistance, and diplomatic work involving arms control and crisis countries will continue at almost 100%.

1348 Greg Sargent of the Washington Post tweets: Flashback: Shutdown worked for Clinton b/c he got more confrontational, leading public to see him as strong: http://wapo.st/g8Tkej

1344The State Department just canceled passport day: "Because of a possible government shutdown, the Department of State must cancel "Passport Day in the USA," which had been scheduled for Saturday, April 9, 2011. During this annual event, passport agencies and participating passport acceptance facilities nationwide open their doors for U.S. citizens to receive passport services without an appointment. We regret that we cannot offer this service as planned.

1340Nancy Gallagher in Fredericksburg, Virginia, writes: "The last time our government shut down, it was for 21 days. After that the Democrats did an excellent job blaming the Republicans and won both the Senate and the House. Perhaps the Democrats think there will be a repeat. I think our troops should get paid, but not our politicians and other government workers. Of course I think our politicians should take a pay cut and office budget cut."

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1331 Foreign Policy Magazine tweets: Why don't other countries have government shutdowns? http://bit.ly/hlCI7R Explainer by @JoshuaKeating

1318 Washington blog DCist tweets: Thousands sign up to participate in trash protest at Speaker John Boehner's D.C. home on Saturday: http://is.gd/pcHrAv

1314Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina has pledged that in the event of a shutdown, "I will refund my salary to the Bureau of the Public Debt within the U.S. Department of Treasury".

1310Speaker Boehner refused to comment on the issue of Planned Parenthood funding, instead focusing on the total level of spending cuts. "We're not going to roll over and sell out the American people like has been done time and time again in Washington," he told reporters.

1307Speaker Boehner has told reporters that the budget discussions with Democrats "continue to be respectful" but that "the big fight is over the spending." He says that almost all of the policy issues have been resolved but differences remain over the level of spending cuts.

1301 George Condon of the National Journal writes: "White House staffers face the threat of up to two years in jail if they use their work-issue BlackBerries during a government shutdown." Sources tell him that staffers have been "read the riot act" on using their BlackBerries.

1257 Matthew Keys tweets: Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) on the Senate: "This is the most dysfunctional place I've ever been in my life."

1238 Olivier Knox, Congressional Correspondent for the AFP tweets: GOP Rep Smith, arguably most passionate anti-abortion voice in Congress, just refused to say Planned Parenthood rider was make-or-break.

1234Senator Diane Feinstein of California says that Republicans know that no federal funding is used for abortions. She called their actions "crafty". "What they are doing is trying take down the whole infrastructure regardless of if the money is private," she said. "We can't let women get thrown under the bus."

1230Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has accused Republicans of "putting their ideological agenda before American families." She noted that federal funding for abortion has been banned for decades.

1226Clarke Crook-Castan has served as a US diplomat in Ghana, Belgium, Spain and Mexico. He told the BBC about his fears of a shut down. "We don't get our pay cheques if we stay home," he said. "Have you tried paying a mortgage?"

1221The BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan is outside the US State Department where federal employees are protesting the shut down: Crowds have gathered, holding placards and listening to The Beatles. "Shame we didn't get more people here," says one man commenting on the crowd of under 100.

1213Washington newspaper the Hill reports that Joe Biden was visibly angered during last night's budget negotiations. They report Senator Harry Reid as saying: "Vice President Biden, who sat very silent through this whole meeting, finally said — and Joe doesn't get upset very often and he usually doesn't speak for short segments — but last night he said: 'Well fine, let the American people decide this issue.'"


1209Democratic Senator Barbara Milkuski says that Republicans have a "radical agenda" on women's issues, and have been trying to defund women's services all year. "This entire debate has involved throwing women and children under the bus," she told reporters.

1157Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer has criticized what he characterised as ideologues on the fringes of the Republican party. He has said this wing, which includes the Tea Party, is "a flea wagging a tail wagging a dog" and that this is not the appropriate way for government to function.


1148White House spokesman Jay Carney just released this statement: "This morning, the President spoke separately to Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Reid. Discussions between the leaders and the White House aimed at reaching a budget agreement are continuing."

1138Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he believes there will be a budget agreement shortly: "these are not unresolvable issues".

1133Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington said on the Senate floor that "women are not pawns".

1123Senate Republicans have told the Associated Press that they will vote in favor of a one week spending measure if a budget deal is reached on Friday. That would allow time for the year-long funding bill to be considered without a government shutdown. Senate Democrats are expected to offer their own one-week funding bill later this afternoon.

1118Senator Jon Kyl, a Republican from Arizona, is urging the Senate to pass the interim measure that would fund the government for one week and the military for the rest of the year. If the government shuts down, he said, "the biggest problem from my perspective is that the military won't get paid over that time". President Obama has called the interim measure, which passed the House yesterday, a "distraction".

1114The BBC's North America editor Mark Mardell says that Mr Reid's claim that the debate had reduced to an ideological squabble over Planned Parenthood "can only infuriate the people he's trying to do a deal with".

1110Speaking on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Harry Reid says that the budget debate has stopped being about spending and has become a debate about "extreme" social policies. With a government shutdown looming, Mr Reid said, why are we talking about whether women can get something as non-controversial as a cancer screening? He called the Republican plan to cut Planned Parenthood funding "indefensible", adding that "men and women should be outraged".

1106The BBC's North America editor Mark Mardell observes: "That must be the shortest statement ever from a political leader on the brink of a crisis. He's saying this is about money, not cruder politics. Mr Boehner doesn't look like a man who is winning the argument with his own party and he's not going out of the way to convince the public either."

1103Mr Boehner urged the Senate to pass a stopgap measure which would fund US troops until the end of the year. He called it the "responsible thing to do". The bill would also fund the federal government for one additional week.

1100House Speaker John Boehner just gave a short statement to reporters, saying that "there is only one reason that we do not have an agreement yet and that issue is spending." He questioned when "the White House and Senate Democrats [will] get serious about cutting spending."

1044Although about 800,000 federal workers are expected to be furloughed in the event of a shutdown, members of congress will continue to work. But, AP's Laurie Kellman reports, more than two dozen senators have pledged to forgo their paychecks if the government shuts down. They will also have to live without some of their perks, including the gym, the cafeteria and the elevator assistants who push the lift buttons for them.

1032Mr Reid also noted that the main issue left to resolve is funding for Planned Parenthood, a women's health provider which also performs abortions. Although federal funding for abortions is banned, Republicans want to cut funding for the entire organisation. Democrats argued that it provides vital health services, like cancer screenings, to low-income women.

1026Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has told reporters that budget negotiators have agreed to $38 bn in spending cuts.


1020 David Frum , political commentator and former Bush speechwriter tries to read the mind of Mitt Romney, a potential 2012 Republican candidate. He writes: "The Democrats know that few Americans understand the difference between the 2011 Continuing Resolution and the 2012 budget. The Democrats will pound home the message that Republicans shut down the government so that they can cancel Medicare for everyone under 55, gut Medicaid, and cut taxes for the rich." All of which bodes well for Romney, who likely needs the Tea Party to lose power if he is to win the nomination.

1008 Ezra Klein from the Washington Post says, "John Boehner is trying to convince Republicans in the House and Republicans in the country that they can trust him... Democrats are trying to show that they will not be rolled over in negotiations simply because the Tea Party is unwilling to compromise".

1004 White House officials say that the president is expecting to take a call from key congressional leaders at some point in the next hour, although they stress this is not a firm deadline. But it suggests we may know more about the state of negotiations soon.

1000 No sign of the troubles in Washington affecting the mood in the US money markets which have bounced back in early trading. Minutes after the opening bell, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 18 points, or 0.1 percent, to 12,428.

0946Michael Shear from the New York Times Caucus Blog says that "as far as the president's role is concerned, it is a pattern that is becoming a regular one", keeping his distance during long running legislative disputes.

0943 bkdreams tweets: "These politicians need to take their egos and personal agendas off the table and truly think about the people this shutdown will affect."

0941 As negotiations go on in Washington, an early sign of how a shutdown could manifest itself - an unusually massive queue in New York at the ferry terminal for Liberty Island, home of the Statue of Liberty. Tourists want to get the statue ticked off today, in case a shutdown closes the monument this weekend.

0935 Barring an agreement or maybe another temporary measure to keep government funded, a shutdown of many parts of the US government will begin at midnight. We are expecting an update mid-morning on how negotiations are going, but President Barack Obama's last word on the matter was that he wasn't "wildly optimistic".

0930 Good morning from Washington and welcome to the BBC's live coverage of deadline day; the final hours of negotiations over the US budget ahead of a looming government shutdown. Stay with us for the latest updates - reports from our correspondents on the ground, expert analysis, and your reaction. You can contact us via email, text or twitter. We'll publish what we can.


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