The clock is ticking on Washington to come up with a budget compromise. The Federal government runs out of funding on April 8. If both sides of the aisle can't bridge the budget gap a government shutdown may be in our future.
Democrats are now offering to cut another $20 billion from the budget, bringing the total amount of cuts they have agreed to to $30 billion, still well shy of the $61 billion Republicans are demanding.
"They're starting to get into the details. The devil's always in the details," Jonathan Allen, Politco.com's senior congressional correspondent tells Aaron Task and Henry Blodget in the accompanying clip.
Some of the especially problematic issues surround the GOP's desire to defund Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio, and their wish to prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. These programs are small potatoes in the overall budget but could create major ideological roadblocks in the negotiations. "The problem is the more they get into [the details] the tougher they become to resolve," says Allen.
In the end, it's probably not in either party's interest to cause a shutdown. "I would still suggest it's unlikely that there will be a shutdown and if there is one it will be very short-term because whoever starts losing the public opinion battle on that will capitulate fast," says Allen.
As Henry points out, this entire ordeal is a bit of a sham. The two sides are arguing over $30 billion or so on a $3.7 trillion federal budget. Meanwhile the deficit is projected to reach $1.6 trillion this year.
To make a real dent in the country's fiscal mess politicians must address entitlements and taxes. "If they're not willing to get in a room and discuss those," this current figure being debated makes very little difference in the long run, Allen admits.
It's partly our own fault, he explains. "This stuff isn't going to get resolved until the American Public gets upset" enough to make it a priority.
In some cases we're reached the breaking point. Ask the Tea Party.