Kevin Glass
Important Update: Reports from the National Journal are that the GOP has dropped their insistence on defunding Planned Parenthood in exchange for an extra $1 billion in cuts.

It looks like optimism abounds tonight as the clock ticks toward a shutdown. The National Journal reports that there might be an outline for a budget compromise being reviewed by the White House right now for an ok.

Numerous GOP and Democratic sources on and off Capitol Hill tell National Journal that the outline of the deal is as follows: up to $39 billion in cuts from the 2010 budget, $514 billion in spending for the defense budget covering the remainder of this fiscal year, a GOP agreement to abandon controversial policy riders dealing with Planned Parenthood and the EPA, and an agreement to pass a “bridge” continuing resolution late Friday night to keep the government operating while the deal is written in bill form.

House appropriators began meeting in Speaker John Boehner’s office about 7:45 p.m. EDT, a sure sign of preparing floor action for another stopgap spending bill, the seventh in a process that began last year when Democrats failed to pass the necessary spending bills to fund the government for this fiscal year.

For a quick primer on how the bill will get passed, see my post from earlier this evening. In short: it's a difficult, complicated, and rules-suspending task.

Of course, this conflicts with reports from The Hill that talks were slowing down between Congressional and White House leaders. Since most of the day was spent on the blame game, it seems logical that everyone's ready for a shutdown.

As someone who personally thinks some of the betting markets are the best indicators of what will actually happen, the Intrade betting markets are surprisingly optimistic. Though the markets earlier in the day put chances of a shutdown at over 60%, they've trended back down to 15% as of this writing.

Tick tock, Congressional leaders. You've got three and a half hours.

Update: Wow, the markets really turned since I initially wrote this. They've shot up to 50% chance of shutdown in just a few minutes. Like I said, they're what I believe in the most, and a very reliable indicator of political outcomes.


Kevin Glass

Kevin Glass is the Managing Editor of Townhall.com. Follow him on Twitter at @kevinwglass.