Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., on Friday predicted that Democrats and Republicans would reach a late deal to avert a government shutdown.
"I think we'll resolve it at the last minute," Baucus said to reporters after a meeting of Senate Democrats, later adding, "we're going to get it done before midnight."
The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee said that the process has been complicated becaause social issues got "migled in with the numbers."
He said that if there's a "a general agreement among the principles" -- meaning House Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and President Obama than they'd be able to get something passed.
“That's my prediction, and I'm not guaranteeing that's going to happen," he cautioned, acknowledging, "I've been wrong before."
Just before Baucus made the remarks, Reid insisted in a press conference that last night at the White House he had reached a deal with Boehner that involved cutting spending by $78 billion compared to Obama's proposal (or about $39 billion compared to actual spending levels), but that a Republican measure to defund Planned Parenthood was holding things up. Earlier, Boehner said that "most" of the policy issues were resolved and that the disagreement was over the amount of spending cuts.
Reid said that if no deal is reached within the next few hours, there would be a series of competing short-term funding measures coming before the Senate, including a Democratic alternative to pay for troop funding.