The House of Representatives begins debate on a bill Tuesday to fund the federal government through late September and strip $100 billion in spending.
But regardless the outcome this week in the Republican-controlled House, the measure still has to go to the Democratically-dominated Senate and President Obama must sign the legislation.
Which means the sides could meet an impasse. Especially with a March 4 deadline looming to settle everything.
That worries House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
"There is a short time frame to work with," Hoyer said, adding that he hopes the deadlock doesn't produce a government shutdown.
On Monday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor,R-Va., declared that the possibility of a shutdown ought to be off the table.
Hoyer says if lawmakers are to avert a shutdown, people have to find middle ground.
"Compromise is not having a take it or leave it position," the Maryland Democrat said. "None of us can simply stamp our foot on the ground and say it's my way or nothing."
While not citing specifics, Hoyer hinted that he thought President Obama might be willing to bend to meet some of the GOP's spending requests.
"That's what happened in December," Hoyer said, citing Mr. Obama's decision to accept the Republican position on renewing across-the-board tax cuts for all Americans.