OVERNIGHT MONEY: T-minus 2 days

THURSDAY’S BIG STORY:


With T-minus 52 hours or so until the federal government's funding resolution expires, the budget discussion is getting increasingly urgent on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue.

President Obama invited both House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush Meadows to be replaced by Biggs as Freedom Caucus leader Scaramucci compares Trump to Jonestown cult leader: 'It's like a hostage crisis inside the White House' MORE (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBarr fails to persuade Cruz on expanded background checks Harry Reid warns Trump 'can be reelected' Homeland Security Republican accuses Navy of withholding UFO info MORE (D-Nev.) over to the White House on Wednesday evening for further discussions, as all sides continue to say talks are progressing and that they want to avoid a government shutdown at Friday’s end. 

Still, BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush Meadows to be replaced by Biggs as Freedom Caucus leader Scaramucci compares Trump to Jonestown cult leader: 'It's like a hostage crisis inside the White House' MORE also said Wednesday that talks had a long way to go, while Reid told his Republican colleagues in the evening to do more governing and less campaigning.

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, the House Rules Committee gathered to discuss the one-week spending measure that Republicans introduced, which cuts $12 billion and is expected to get a floor vote on Thursday.

Meanwhile, over in the other chamber, further clues emerged Wednesday as to where Democrats are looking to find spending cuts. 

Both Reid and Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-N.Y.) have previously indicated that they would look at farm subsidies to reach the level of cuts Republicans are demanding.

But Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusBottom line Overnight Defense: McCain honored in Capitol ceremony | Mattis extends border deployment | Trump to embark on four-country trip after midterms Congress gives McCain the highest honor MORE (D-Mont.) appeared to try and preempt any such push, urging the president in a letter not to agree to cuts that they said should be made in the 2012 farm bill. 

“It does not make sense to single out the agricultural budget for cuts that will do little to reduce spending in the short run while greatly complicating reauthorization of the Farm Bill later this Congress," wrote Baucus and Conrad, the Senate Finance and Budget chairmen, respectively.

WHAT ELSE TO WATCH FOR:

The Paul files: Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) will again work out his gavel-swinging muscles on Thursday, chairing another hearing of the domestic monetary policy subcommittee at House Financial Services. While his prior hearings this Congress have focused on the Fed, Paul is set to delve this time into the US Mint Bullion Program. The Mint currently offers a three-item menu of coins made from precious metals -- gold, silver and platinum. Paul has been a strong advocate for an alternative currency whose values come directly from precious commodities, as opposed to a fiat currency backed by the government.

Talking tax reform: Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Energy: California, 23 other states sue Trump over vehicle emissions rule | Climate strike protests hit cities across globe | Interior watchdog expands scope of FOIA investigation | Dems accuse officials of burying climate reports Microsoft to provide free updates for voting systems running Windows 7 through 2020 Interior watchdog investigating political appointees' review of FOIA requests MORE (D-Ore.) and Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsTrump has named more ex-lobbyists to Cabinet in 3 years than Obama, Bush did in full terms: report Hillicon Valley: FCC approves Nexstar-Tribune merger | Top Democrat seeks answers on security of biometric data | 2020 Democrats take on Chinese IP theft | How Google, Facebook probes are testing century-old antitrust laws Congress should defy Dan Coats' last request on phone surveillance MORE (R-Ind.) are taking their tax reform pitch on the road Thursday. Well, sort of: The two are scheduled to discuss their proposed comprehensive overhaul of the tax code at the Heritage Foundation — a stone’s throw from the Capitol.

Up on the Hill: A day after the U.S. and Colombia announced they had reached an agreement on a trade pact, Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyLobbying groups ask Congress for help on Trump tariffs Republicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea Republicans' rendezvous with reality — their plan is to cut Social Security MORE (R-Texas) at the House Ways and Means trade subcommittee is set to have his third and final hearing on pending trade deals – this one on South Korea, the most popular, and perhaps most beneficial, of the deals. 

There’s also the potential for dramatic moments on funding talks, with Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMissing piece to the Ukraine puzzle: State Department's overture to Rudy Giuliani On The Money: Trump downplays urgency of China trade talks | Chinese negotiators cut US trip short in new setback | Trump sanctions Iran's national bank | Survey finds Pennsylvania, Wisconsin lost the most factory jobs in past year Meghan McCain, Ana Navarro get heated over whistleblower debate MORE scheduled to meet with Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the House Appropriations Committee chairman, to discuss cuts to her department’s budget.

The troubled budgets of Amtrak and the Capitol Police will also be scrutinized by appropriators, while Shaun DonovanShaun L. S. DonovanHouse Dems call on OMB to analyze Senate budget plan Overnight Finance: Dems turn up heat on Wells Fargo | New rules for prepaid cards | Justices dig into insider trading law GOP reps warn Obama against quickly finalizing tax rules MORE, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is also expected to talk budgeting.

Finally, the Senate Finance Committee is set to hold a confirmation hearing Thursday on a pair of nominees to join the Treasury Department – David S. Cohen, tapped by the president to be the next undersecretary dealing with terrorism and financial crimes, and Jenni Rane LeCompte, nominated to be an assistant secretary for public affairs.

Think Tank Roundup: Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeZuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers to discuss 'future internet regulation' Hillicon Valley: Election security looms over funding talks | Antitrust enforcers in turf war | Facebook details new oversight board | Apple fights EU tax bill MORE (R-Utah), Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (R-Tenn.) and Brady are all slated to discuss the impact of government spending at a Cato Institute event on Thursday. 

Economic indicators:

-- The Labor Department is set to drop weekly initial jobless claims. 

-- And the Federal Reserve releases consumer credit data. 

BREAKING WEDNESDAY:

Who takes the hit?: With all the shutdown talk swirling, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds something of a cloudy picture on who would get the blame should the government close up shop.

The breakdown: 37 percent would blame congressional Republicans; President Obama and congressional Democrats each got the vote of 20 percent; 17 percent said they’d blame them all; and 2 percent said it would be both the president and congressional Democrats’ fault. 

What about 2012?: The House Budget Committee’s marathon markup of the GOP’s 2012 budget resolution is still going strong – and set to continue until midnight, with Democrats offering some 30 amendments to the proposal. 

The resolution, authored by Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Three-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate Krystal Ball touts Sanders odds in Texas MORE (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, cuts $5.8 trillion from spending over 10 years in order to cut $1.65 trillion from deficits over 10 years. It does not raise taxes and cuts the top corporate tax rate to 25 percent.

The budget is expected to be reported out of the committee on a party-line vote and come up for debate in the full House next week. 

The Democratic amendments targeted Ryan’s changes to Medicare and Medicaid went line by line, looking at cuts to everything from food safety to Head Start.

On the flip side, the conservative Republican Study Committee is set to unveil their own 2012 budget proposal on Thursday.

Who gets paid?: Our colleague John T. Bennett has the story on the bill Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s bill to ensure that service members get paid at regular intervals during a shutdown. The Texas Republican said Wednesday that she hoped her legislation – which is similar to a measure being pushed by some of her House GOP colleagues from the Lone Star State – would be acted upon quickly.

Who says you can’t get 100 senators to agree on anything?: In fact, every member in the chamber voted Wednesday for a bill that would get rid of unemployment payments to millionaires. The measure’s sponsors said it would save up to $20 million.

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

On the Money’s Wednesday:

- James Baker, Dick Gephardt: Keep tax reform away from deficit-reduction discussion.

- Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocratic senators quietly hope Biden wins over rivals GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson to resign at end of year Native American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment MORE thinks he has the 60 votes to delay the Durbin amendment. 

- House Financial Services subcommittee advances eight Fannie, Freddie bills.

Barney Frank and Spencer BachusSpencer Thomas BachusManufacturing group leads coalition to urge Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank Biz groups take victory lap on Ex-Im Bank On The Money: White House files notice of China tariff hikes | Dems cite NYT report in push for Trump tax returns | Trump hits Iran with new sanctions | Trump praises GM for selling shuttered Ohio factory | Ex-Im Bank back at full strength MORE both fear that someone’s impersonating Barney Frank. 

- GOP still has CFPB in its sights; Jennifer Granholm says she won’t lead the bureau. 

- Heath Shuler defects from fellow Dems, votes to extend Bush tax cuts for millionaires.

- Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBipartisan housing finance reform on the road less taken Hillicon Valley: Google to promote original reporting | Senators demand answers from Amazon on worker treatment | Lawmakers weigh response to ransomware attacks Senate Democrats want answers on 'dangerous' Amazon delivery system MORE wants lawmakers to wait on their pensions. 

- The administration outlines what happens in a shutdown ...

- While the IRS commissioner says: No matter what, your taxes are still due April 18.

Feedback: bbecker@thehill.com