WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Barack Obama on Thursday called US Congress leaders to a new round of talks aimed at averting a government shutdown barely a day away, as pessimism about a breakthrough deal deepened. Ahead of the White House negotiations, Obama warned he would veto a stopgap measure set to clear the Republican-led House of Representatives ahead of a midnight Friday (0400 GMT Saturday) deadline to reach an agreement. "This bill is a distraction from the real work that would bring us closer to a reasonable compromise," his budget office said in a statement that warned a shutdown "would put the nation's economic recovery in jeopardy." The partial closure of the US government would idle some 800,000 workers, delay pay to soldiers including those in Iraq and Afghanistan, and hurt Americans counting on annual tax refunds to pay bills or make purchases. "Republicans' goal is to cut spending to help create a better environment for job creation -- not to shut down the government," Republican House Speaker John Boehner said in a written response. With time to reach a deal ticking down, Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor notified lawmakers that they would need to report to work on Friday and "keep their schedules for this weekend as flexible as possible." "We will not leave town until we have fulfilled our obligation to cut spending, to begin getting our fiscal house in order," Cantor announced to his colleagues. His message came as Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, was to have Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid back to the White House for talks aimed at reaching a breakthrough deal. Ahead of the fresh negotiations -- the second round in less than a day -- Reid and Boehner each blamed the other for the stalemate, which could have explosive political effects going into the 2012 campaign season. Republicans disputed Democratic claims that both sides had settled on $34.5 billion in cuts and that the White House's foes had stalled the talks by insisting that curbs on abortion and a roll-back of environmental rules be part of the final legislation. "If this government shuts down -- and it looks like it's headed in that direction," Republicans will be to blame for insisting on "matters that have nothing to do" with spending, charged Reid. "The numbers are basically there," Reid said, both sides are "extremely close" after aides worked throughout the night following talks at the White Houes late Wednesday. But "I am not nearly as optimistic -- and that's an understatement -- as I was 11 hours ago," because of the rifts over Republican-crafted measures to restrict access to abortion and roll back environment rules, the senator warned. Both items were included in a House-passed measure to fund the US government to the end of the 2011 fiscal year, September 30, while cutting some $61 billion in government spending. "We made progress last night at least I thought we did. But when I see what the White House has to offer today, it's really just more of the same," Boehner told reporters. "I think we were closer to a number last night that we were this morning. There are a number of issues that are on the table and any attempt to try to narrow this down to one or two, just would not be accurate," he said. Boehner said the House would pass a stopgap spending bill that cuts $12 billion but funds the military for the rest of the year, shrugging off Obama's veto threat and Reid's warning it would be a dead letter in the Senate. The speaker has come under heavy pressure from the archconservative "Tea Party" movement who helped power Republicans to recapture the House and erode the Democratic Senate majority in November elections. Tea Party members and lawmakers closely aligned with the movement have heaped pressure on Boehner not to compromise with Democrats and said they would rather see the government shut down than make major concessions. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found only 28 percent of Republicans want their leaders in Congress to compromise over the budget cuts, compared to 68 percent of Democrats and 76 percent of political independents who said they wanted their leaders on Capitol Hill to do so. Republicans were demanding sweeping budget cuts in domestic spending and foreign aid and policy changes, while Obama has offered cuts, but has dug in his heels at cutting crucial education and environmental programs.