Update at 11:05 a.m. ET. Possible Deal?
While nothing is settled and the goverment might still be forced into a partial shutdown at the end of the day on Friday, there's this breaking news from The Associated Press:
"Bipartisan agreement is near on a massive $1 trillion-plus year-end spending package and should be reached in time avert a possible government shutdown this weekend, Senate leaders said Thursday. ... Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he had talked to top Senate Democrats who helped write the [House-passed] spending bill and that remaining issues "should be resolvable." He and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., expressed optimism that disputes over that bill and a separate measure extending a payroll tax cut were near an end."
The Hill reports that Reid said "I just had a very comfortable conversation with [Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel] Inouye [D-Hawaii]. ... [T]he issues that relate to the omnibus, I think, according to Sen. Inouye — those are resolvable. There are a few issues that are outstanding, but they are really small in number"
Our Original Post:
The political wrangling continues in Washington as Republicans and Democrats try to get their priorities enacted even as several key deadlines fast approach.
Overnight, as The Associated Press reports, Republicans in the House "unveiled a massive $1 trillion-plus year-end spending package despite a plea from the White House for additional talks over a handful of provisions opposed by President Barack Obama."
The wire service adds that:
"The measure unveiled late Wednesday curbs agency budgets but drops many policy provisions sought by GOP conservatives. But it contains language to roll back Obama administration policies that had loosened restrictions on the rights of Cuban immigrants to send money to relatives in Cuba or travel back to the island to visit them. Earlier this year, the White House promised a veto over the proposals. ...
"The spending measure had been held up by Senate Democrats seeking leverage in talks on extending payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance — two pillars of Obama's jobs agenda.
"But Democratic leverage to stall the massive spending measure seems limited, since it raises the threat of a government shutdown [this weekend]."
The Washington Post sounds an ominous note: "Negotiations over how to extend a payroll tax holiday for 160 million Americans and avoid a government shutdown this weekend ground to a halt Wednesday after a standoff in the Senate over how to proceed."
Politico says that "waiting until past midnight and with little notice, the House Appropriations Committee early Thursday released details of a $1 trillion plus spending package that had been largely resolved with Senate Democrats but is now at risk of unraveling in a government shutdown fight driven by 2012 politics and a debate over tax cuts."