Vice President Biden is scheduled to make the two-minute trip down Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill late Thursday afternoon to sit down with a bipartisan group of House and Senate leaders.
Republicans reluctantly accepted the invitation, and insisted they were caught off guard Wednesday when the White House sent out an e-mail press release announcing to reporters that President Obama was calling on Congressional leaders to sit down with the vice president and hash out a compromise on how to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year.
Republicans are still demanding Democrats produce their own plan for cuts, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggested that if, as President Obama has said, the U.S. is to "live within its means" - then Mr. Obama should produce a plan to eliminate this year's projected $1.6 trillion deficit. For that McConnell said he'd "show up early" for any meeting.
"Putting a meeting on the schedule doesn't change the fact that neither the White House nor a single Democrat in Congress has proposed a plan that would allow the government to remain open and that would respond to the voters by reigning in spending. All we get is talk," McConnell said on Senate floor Thursday morning.
The meeting is expected to include White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and OMB Director Jack Lew, as well as House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
What does all of this portend for a possible government shutdown when the current funding bill expires on March 18?