Are Democrats and Republicans finally ready to agree on a budget for this fiscal year? Today, President Obama is expected to sign another stopgap budget bill that will prevent a government shutdown for three more weeks. Party leaders are playing a potentially unpopular game of brinkmanship, as polling shows that voters could blame either party for the lengthy budget battle. Here's the latest insight into whether a compromise is on the horizon.
New York Sen. Charles Schumer told The Washington Post last night that this will be the last stopgap bill.
"Patience is wearing thin on both sides with these stopgaps," said the No. 3 Democrat. "All signs point to this being the last one. Three weeks should be enough to negotiate a final deal."
Another sign of growing bipartisanship on the budget comes in a letter to the president signed by more than 50 Republican and Democratic senators. The agreement sets cuts for Social Security and Medicare spending designed to be palatable to both Republicans and Democrats.
"The number of signatures they attracted suggests that efforts... to reach a grand bargain to rein in the deficit has picked up substantial support that may help propel an eventual agreement through the Senate," write Bloomberg's Heidi Przybyla and Julie Hirschfeld Davis.
"Momentum is moving in the right direction," added top Republican senator Jeff Sessions.
However, the Los Angeles Times notes that Republican Party leaders continue to face pressure from junior conservative colleagues to only settle for a budget bill that will defund Obama's health care bill and eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, moves that are non-starters for Democrats.
On top of that, The Washington Post raises doubts that a broad agreement can be forged in the next three weeks.
For one of those three weeks, Congress will be on recess. And the two sides began their key negotiations with an argument: over how they should negotiate.
Schumer said House Republicans should make the next move, offering a proposal that's closer to what Democrats will accept.
Republicans said the opposite.
"I again implore the president and Senate Democrats to give us an offer," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. "We cannot continue to fund the government with a series of Band-Aids."
Looks like this could come down to the wire once again.