Can Republicans and Democrats Avoid a Shutdown?

Top Republicans and Democrats are hoping to find a way out of a shutdown showdown this month, with the likeliest scenario a short-term bill that funds the government at this year’s levels and leaves Obamacare unscathed.

Though the question of whether to strike Syria is dominating news organizations’ and lawmakers’ attention, Congress also has to race against the clock to agree to a spending bill that keeps the government open past Sept. 30.

What Republicans can pass as soon as this week will depend on whether their members will demand stricter Obamacare defunding language or additional spending cuts beyond the $988 billion GOP leaders are planning.

Republican leaders have hinted at their preference for a no-drama bill that would keep the government open while talks continue on a broader budget deal that may or may not include a debt limit increase. A GOP leadership aide outlined Monday a way for House Republicans to use a legislative maneuver that would allow Republicans to vote to defund Obamacare but let the Senate strip out the Obamacare language.

One Senate Democratic aide told CQ Roll Call that a clean, short-term continuing resolution at this year’s $988 billion level would likely get through the Senate, but the White House has yet to weigh in.

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