UPDATE 1-Obama urges lawmakers to avoid government shutdown

(Updates with quotes from statement, background on talks)

WASHINGTON, April 2 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama
told Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress on Saturday
that time was running short to agree on a budget deal and urged
both sides to avoid a government shutdown.

Obama made separate calls to John Boehner, the Republican
speaker of the House of Representatives, and Harry Reid, the
Democratic Senate majority leader, to discuss progress on
reaching an agreement on spending cuts for this year, the White
House said in a statement.

“The president made clear that we all understand the need
to cut spending, and highlighted the progress that has been
made to agree to all work off the same number,” the White House

“The president said that he has instructed his team to
continue to work hard over the weekend with the appropriators
to help reach resolution on the composition of those cuts, and
reiterated our opposition to cuts that will undermine our
economic growth, job creation, and our ability to win the
future,” it said.

Democrats and Republicans are believed to have tentatively
agreed to $33 billion in cuts for this year but are haggling
over where the budget knife should fall.

In the weekly Republican address, Boehner stressed that the
two parties were still talking about the depth of the cuts.

“Now, you’ve heard Democratic leaders claim an agreement
has been reached on this issue, but let me be clear. There is
no agreement,” he said. “Republicans continue to fight for the
largest spending cuts possible to help end Washington’s
job-crushing spending binge.”

Obama said time was running out before an April 8 deadline
when a short-term funding measure expires, leaving the
government without cash which would force it to shut down.

“The President highlighted the progress that has been made
but made clear that this process is running short on time, and
he urged both sides to reach a final solution and avoid a
government shutdown that would be harmful to our economic
recovery,” the White House said.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Vicki Allen)

UPDATE 1-Obama urges lawmakers to avoid government shutdown