With a government shutdown looming next Friday if no deal is reached, Republican and Democratic Senators are moving further and further apart, with Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer arguing that tax increases and further cuts to defense should be on the table, along with ending some agriculture subsidies and putting mandatory spending on the table.
Thus far, the GOP budget bill has focused on cuts to discretionary spending. The Senate is expected later today to vote on the House-passed budget, but it doesn't stand a chance of passing -- nor does the Democratic alternative.
Republican leaders clearly want to avert a government shutdown, because they fear that they'll lose the battle over public opinion, as most people not named Newt Gingrich believe they did back during the 1995/96 budget fights. The Hill reports that they're planning a second stopgap spending measure to delay that possibility again, but they can't keep doing that forever. We're nearly six months into the 2011 fiscal year already.
Also, next month Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is set to unveil the GOP budget for 2012, which will include a 10-year blueprint. That's likely to be an even bigger fight.