While lawmakers battle over the budget, they all agree - the steaks couldn't be higher.
Americans are bracing for the real impact of a government shutdown.
U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Sean Minogue said, "We may not get paid but we still need to report to work."
After a late night meeting with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, President Obama said he's certain they can strike a budget deal if they keep in mind why it's so urgent.
"Hundreds of thousands of workers across the country suddenly are without a paycheck. Their families are counting on them being able to go to work," said President Obama.
Both sides say last night's meeting "narrowed the issues," but there are still "deep divisions" and no agreement on how much to cut.
"We're not there yet, but hope lies eternal," said Reid.
"There's intent on both sides to continue to work together to try to resolve this. No one wants the government to shut down," said Boehner.
Democrats insist hands are tied by the Tea Party, refusing to bend.
Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank said, "He is gonna be driven by these extremists into an unsustainable position and pay a price for it."
Perhaps no greater price than this: Sally Ann Polson is waiting to bury her father at Arlington Cemetery.
"We have people coming from all over the country," said Polson.
If the shutdown happens, his funeral may have to wait.