As shutdown looms, few indications of how, when impasse will be broken

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he had directed Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) to draft a 30-day stopgap measure that would freeze spending at its current levels. Reid said he wanted to give lawmakers time to hash out a budget for the remainder of the year.

Reid has not, however, indicated how or when his plan would be taken up or how he intended to get it passed in the House, where the Republican leadership immediately rejected it.

House Republicans also floated two stopgap measures that would slash billions in just two weeks. Despite reports on Thursday that some Democratic senators were considering deep cuts, the GOP's plan will almost certainly be unpalatable to the Democrat-controlled body.

Behind-the-scenes negotiations are ongoing. Reid said on Tuesday that while has not spoken to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), he has directed his Chief of Staff to work with Republicans to come to a compromise. So far there is no indication of how those negotiations are going.

As the deadline draws nearer, it is likely leadership will begin to pursue more concrete, practical steps towards a compromise. 

In a telephone press conference on Friday announcing the most recent of the GOP’s stopgap proposals, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) commented that Congress only works when on deadline. He said he expects most action to occur nearer to the 11th hour.

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