Congress has returned to Washington. The Senate resumed business Monday and the House opens for business Tuesday. Lawmakers continue to face budget cuts they cannot agree to. The next deadline is April 8.
Despite reports that some progress has been made toward an accord on an overall level of spending cuts, many congressional leaders are growing pessimistic about reaching a bipartisan deal. Aides caution that if outstanding issues were resolved and an agreement struck later this week, it would be a challenge to write the legislation and move it through Congress in time.
The two sides are $50 billion apart. House Republican leadership would like to cut $60 billion from the budget while Senate Democratic leadership would like to cut $10 billion. Lawmakers are looking at three options: pass a budget that funds the government until Sept. 30, the remainder of the fiscal year; pass another short-term spending bill; or shut down the government.