Congress may produce a surprise late Monday: a compromise that will keep the government running past Friday. While nothing is certain yet, a proposal is expected to be ready later in the day for a measure that will allow the government to keep running even as larger battles are fought over the expiration of a payroll tax cut and the question of whether to extend unemployment benefits.
The Washington Post reported that appropriators have been working apart from the public fights over such issues in an attempt to reach a bipartisan compromise on allocations of funding already approved in the August debt agreement. At issue is how some nearly $1 trillion should be spent—money that has to be divided up among several federal agencies.
Very public standoffs over many appropriations issues over the past months, with sizeable numbers of Republicans voting against any brokered agreement, have forced negotiators to realize that any bill to reach passage will require Republicans to seek the support of Democrats, since they cannot count on members of their own party to approve anything that does not include tremendous cuts in spending.