A budget battle on Capitol Hill is threatening to partially shut down the US government.
Federal agencies like museums, national parks and passport offices could close after Friday if Republicans and Democrats fail to settle their differences on spending cuts.
President Barack Obama has now intervened, urging compromise.
“We can’t have a ‘my way or the highway’ approach to this problem, because if we start applying that approach where I have got to get 110 per cent of everything that I want or else I am going to shut down the government, we are not going to get anything done this year and the American people are going to be the ones that suffer. Nobody gets 100 per cent of what they want. And we have more than met the Republicans halfway at this point.”
But Republican House Speaker John Boehner is under pressure from conservatives aligned with the Tea Party movement to stand firm on calls for stiff cuts.
Obama, himself, is also feeling the heat. He has just launched his bid for re-election in 2012. And an impasse that could throw hundreds of thousands of government employees out of work is potentially deeply damaging.
Republicans, too, should take note. Polls show the public would hold both parties equally to blame for any shutdown.