6:17: NBC News' Chuck Todd speculates that "The fact that Harry Reid canceled a planned Senate floor speech at 6pmET is yet another sign things may be moving closer to a deal."
4:48: Rep. Michele Bachmann tweets, "I am ready for a big fight that will change the arc of history. The current fight in Washington is not that fight." In response, David Frum declares, "Bachmann throws in the towel. Shutdown won't happen."
4:45: On Reddit, some soldiers are responding to the possible shutdown:
3:53: Senate Democrats say House Republicans have dropped one provision that was a major sticking point in budget negotiations: a rider preventing the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases or revoking certain mountaintop mines' permits for polluting water.
3:41: Rep. Mike Pence's office pushes back against earlier reports that he'd be willing to compromise on abortion-related rider.
3:34: Stocks fell as the deadline to avoid a shutdown grew nearer Friday afternoon. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 76 points--0.6 percent--to 12335. Nasdaq fell 0.9 percent to 2772. The S&P 500 declined 0.8 percent to 1323. "Anytime you lose confidence in the government's ability to do what they're supposed to do, there's a little bit of a letdown there, so you're seeing the dollar down," Christian Hviid, chief market strategist at Genworth Financial Asset Management, told Dow Jones' Donna Kardos Yesalavich and Kristina Peterson.
2:54: National Review's Andrew Stiles reports Sen. Chuck Schumer says Democrats will offer another short-term spending measure that would last possibly just a couple days. It would cut spending by $2 billion a week but fully fund the military.
2:50: The American Federation of Government Employees has filed suit against the Obama administration for lost wages in case of a shutdown, The Hill's Kevin Bogardus reports. The union has 600,000 members who work for the federal and D.C. government. It charges the administration with violating the appropriations clause of the 13th Amendment by making people work for free during a shutdown.
1:56: Boehner again says it's spending cuts that are preventing lawmakers from compromising on a budget deal, and that "almost all" policy differences have been straightened out. Meanwhile major abortion foes are easing up on their insistence that the budget bill include a rider to defund Planned Parenthood. Rep. Chris Smith wouldn't say defunding the group was necessary to a budget deal, Politico's Richard E. Cohen and Jonathan Allen report, and Rep. Mike Pence indicated he was opening to passing the defunding at a later date.
1:20: GOP Sens. Pat Toomey and Tom Coburn are both urging House Republicans to drop the Planned Parenthood rider, but The National Review's Daniel Foster argues that it's smart for them "to draw the game of chicken out as long as they reasonably can. If the Democrats think they are willing to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding (as Mike Pence has said he is), then they are likely to at least offer concessions."
12:19: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has distanced himself from the budget fight, says, "there will be an agreement here shortly. ... I have been in many negotiation over the years... I assure you these are not unresolvable issues… A resolution is actually within reach."
11:52: Politicians often seem excited when they can find some way to use soldiers to score points in the debate of the day. After many Democrats noted that a shutdown would mean Congress would get paid but soldiers wouldn't, Republicans offered a short-term measure dubbed the "troop funding bill," which would keep government doors open for a week but fund the military for a year. Senate Democrats countered with their own stopgap that would pay the salaries of deployed troops. Friday morning, Sarah Palin tweeted "Appalling Commander in Chief action: Announce veto of troop funding in time of war. Troops sacrificing life & limb & he plays politics at... ....their expense. UNBELIVEABLE. Memo to the President: Insurgents won't stop & wait for govt shutdown to end before resuming actions."
11:46: Senate Democrats will offer their own week-long budget stopgap that would slash $12 billion in spending. It would have a "emergency contingency pot" to fund paychecks for American soldiers in wars. Obama has said he'd veto another such continuing resolution--this would be the third such weeks-long measure.
11:24: Senate Democrats will meet between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
11:21: Three pro-life Republicans are urging their leadership to drop the Planned Parenthood rider from the budget bill, Think Progress' Tanya Somander reports. One of them is Tea Party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann. Update: Bachmann's office emails to say "has NEVER advocated for stripping language that deals with abortion. Her point was that we need to vote on Gohmert’s bill alone to make sure the troops are paid and then get back to the" continuing resolution.
11:14: Boehner gave a very brief statement to reporters and answered no questions. He urged the Senate to pass a one-week stopgap that would fund the military for the rest of the year, and thus prevent soldiers from having to fight three wars without getting paid. The House Republican Conference will meet at noon--12 hours before the shutdown deadline--and Boehner will have to convince his caucus that compromise will help them if a deal is to be reached, The Hill reports.
11:07: Republicans are still insisting that disagreements are broader than just the abortion issue. Dow Jones' Siobhan Hughes reports that the parties can't agree on the numbers, according to a Republican aide. Staffers were negotiating until 3 a.m.
Original Post: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that the budget negotiations between Senate Democrats and House Republicans are only over the abortion policy riders; "everything" else is resolved. House Speaker John Boehner, however is denies that, The Hill's Michael O'Brien reports. Two policy riders attached to the budget bill--one limiting funding of abortion-related groups, another curbing the power to regulate greenhouse gases--were the major points of contention on Thursday, but this morning Reid said that the clean air rider. On the spending matters, Reid said the parties settled on a number: $38 billion in spending cuts--and that he's "really upset" the government could be shut down over abortion, National Journal's Dan Friedman reports.
Boehner's office, however, is pushing back on Democratic attempts to frame the budget stalemate--which will result in a government shutdown if a deal is not reached by midnight Friday--as a dispute over social issues. He says that Republicans still want more spending cuts than the Democrats have agreed. ABC News' Jake Tapper reports that the fight is over the final $6.5 billion--"Of $3.842 trillion in projected 2011 outlays and a $1.416 trillion deficit, Republicans and the president are in a standoff over 0.17% of the budget, plus funding for Planned Parenthood."