The clock continues to tick as a possible government shutdown looms, but still no deal has been reached on Capitol Hill on a budget compromise.  The White House intensified negotiations with House Republicans this week to try to hammer out a compromise and avert the government disruption.  Without agreement by April 8 when the current stopgap measure expires, the federal government could suffer its first shutdown in 15 years.  The government has now operated without a budget for 183 days, and the federal government has already twice come within 48 hours of a shutdown.

It appeared that headway was being made mid-week.  Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday outlined a potential compromise, which would cut $33 billion from the federal budget–the largest one-time reduction in U.S. history–including $10 billion that was already part of two recent short-term resolutions. However, Republican freshman in the House rejected the compromise, saying it was too little, too late and insisting that cuts remain at the $61 billion level they pushed through the House in February.  “There is still no agreement on numbers.  Nothing will be agreed to until everything is agreed to,” said House Speaker John Boehner.  As uncertainty continues as to where the talks are headed, both parties remain keenly aware of the political fallout of a possible federal government shutdown as no party wants to be blamed.