In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Top Democratic Aide Says Breakthrough Possible To Avert Government Shutdown


"Part of the thaw is that we think we can get some of the cuts we need to add up to this number from areas outside of discretionary," the aide said.

Another source familiar with the discussions says, "The appropriations committees in the House and Senate have been tasked to work on a bill that achieves cuts betweenw 30 and 36 [billion dollars]."

"That's just on [overall] spending cuts," the second source added, "and they'll have to hash out how much mandatory, how much discretionary."

Details are scarce, because both sides still have to haggle over precise allocations, and the nature of the mandatory spending cuts -- Dems would like to draw from Medicare subsidies, while Republicans may have other ideas. So this isn't a grand bargain. But it's light years ahead of where things looked early this week.

Vice President Joe Biden is currently meeting with Senate Democratic leadership to discuss the spending cut package.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at