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Government shutdown Friday? Why Tuesday could be crucial.

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“They’ve made this [2012] budget symbolically so charged that it gives Republicans an excuse to compromise [on FY 2011 spending] based on the compromise that they’re going to go big in the budget,” he adds. “That’s quite useful.”

'Time is not on our side'

The compromise deal for 2011 spending would reportedly include about $32 billion in spending cuts. But House and Senate negotiators who worked through the weekend are still struggling over which programs to cut. Without agreement on a 2011 spending bill, government funding runs out on April 8.

“The other side isn’t being reasonable,” said Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada in a floor speech on Monday. “Republican leadership has a very big choice to make: whether it will do what the tea party wants it to do or what the country needs it to do. Time is not on our side.”

In response, House majority leader Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia shot back: “Republicans want to cut spending and to get America's fiscal house in order, we do not want to shut down the government. Yet, despite our repeated calls for fiscal sanity, Senate Democrats still refuse to act or listen to the American people.”

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