Source: Budget Deadline May Be Pushed Back
Washington (CNN) -- Budget negotiators are working on a proposal to keep the federal government open for another three days while Democratic and Republican leaders try to put together a broader deal this weekend, a senior Democratic source told CNN late Friday.
The measure would not include any language on controversial topics like abortion, which has been an apparent sticking point, according to Democrats.
But it is not clear, the source cautioned, that the plan could pass the House of Representatives and the Senate by midnight -- the deadline for keeping the government running and preventing a partial shutdown.
The White House indicated earlier in the week that President Barack Obama could sign another short-term funding measure if negotiations on a broader package covering the rest of the fiscal year were making progress.
Administration officials said Friday afternoon they were increasingly optimistic about the possibility of reaching an 11th-hour budget deal with the Republicans.
There is a "good chance" that Obama will speak publicly about the crisis Friday night, a White House source said.
The sudden burst of optimism came as top negotiators raced against the clock to cobble together a deal. The current spending authorization measure expires at the end of Friday.
A shutdown would lead to furloughs for 800,000 government workers. A range of government services would halt, though essential services such as law enforcement would continue to function.
Obama discussed the issue over the phone during the day with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, according to aides to both the president and the speaker. Anticipating a shutdown, Obama also canceled a planned weekend trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, with his family.
As the talks moved ahead, however, leading politicians from both sides of the aisle continued to trade accusations about the cause of the standoff.
Democrats said Republicans were hung up on abortion and other issues related to women's health. Republicans insisted that the size of spending reductions was still the main cause of the dispute.
"This all deals with women's health. Everything (else) has been resolved. Everything," Reid said Friday morning. "It's an ideological battle. It has nothing to do with fiscal integrity in this country."
"If that sounds ridiculous, it's because it is ridiculous," he later added.
Republicans have been pushing to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood during the budget talks. They are also trying to get federal dollars now set aside for family planning and women's health turned into block grants for states, according to a Democratic source.
Such a move -- opposed by Democrats -- would give governors and state legislatures more ability to cut funding for services opposed by conservatives.
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