But they have to make a decision soon. Having tied the issue to funding for the federal government, which is set to run out Monday, a significant delay would risk a government shutdown. In a bid to force the Democrats' hand, House Republicans opted Wednesday not to move ahead with a short term measure to avoid a shutdown, and are instead considering moving ahead with a longer-term "megabus" appropriations bill, hashed out in bipartisan negotiations. If it passes, Republicans can scatter to the four winds, and leave Senate Dems with a choice between passing everything the GOP wants, poison pills and all, and allowing the government to shut down and the payroll tax cut to expire.
But it's unclear whether Republicans can advance the appropriations without Democratic help. Many Republicans oppose the funding bills because they don't slash federal programs deeply enough. If it fails Friday, Congress will have precious little time to pass a short-term measure to prevent a shutdown. Indeed, the Obama administration is already prepping agencies for the possibility that the government won't be open on for business on Monday.
We've been here before: another cluster on Capitol Hill. Just over 48 hours to go this time.