While the politics of the healthcare law and immigration play out this week, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., are quietly working out the details of a possible two-year long budget agreement.
This would be significant because it would avert the threat of another government shutdown and allow both sides an opportunity to "regain some trust," according to a Democratic aide.
What could a deal look like?
Details are being kept purposely vague, but sources familiar with the ongoing negotiations have sketched out the following details:
•The two-year deal would likely cover fiscal year 2014 and 2015.
•It would set the top line budget number for both years. That's important because it's what the appropriations committees will work with when they decide how to allocate funding for specific government programs under the funding guidelines set by that top line.
•That top line budget number would be in the neighborhood of appropriating $967 billion to $1.058 trillion each year. Possibly in the $990 billion dollar range, though the specific dollar amount is not yet known.
The deal seeks to limit the impact of sequestration by finding other areas of government to raise revenues and also by cuts or reforms to programs.