That's causing a mad dash for compromise in Washington.
After two weeks of mostly inaction, lawmakers appear to be working on a deal.
Entering week three of the government shutdown and just two days from the debt ceiling deadline, lawmakers buckle down to hash out a potential compromise.
"Number one, they're opening up government, number two they are extending the debt limit so we don't default and number three they are setting a framework for a broader deal into the future without making that too far into the future," says Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) North Dakota.
A meeting between congressional leaders and President Barack Obama was put on hold, Monday.
The White House said leaders in the Senate were making important progress, and postponing the meeting would give them more time to do so.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stressed patience, as Democratic and Republican leaders signaled significant progress.
It's not clear what kind of compromise the two sides might come to that could pass both the House and the Senate, and nothing yet has been finalized.
Despite signs of cooperation, some politicians continue to blame the other side of the aisle.
"The blame really lays at the feet of the Republican party," accuses Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) Florida. "Each of them has a vote in their own right that they had the opportunity to do the right thing."
"The president should be an adult at the table," counters Rep. Darrell Issa (R) California. "He has huge power, and he has the power, as one person, to offer counter-proposals, which he hasn't done."
Others show restrained optimism for a potential end to the impasse.
"At least both sides are talking right now, and from where we were, that is a glimmer of hope," says Rep. Michael Grimm (R) New York.
Sources say, under the deal being negotiated, the debt ceiling would be raised enough for the government to pay its bills through February 7.
(Andrew Spencer, CNN)
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