1. Getting to 50 percent.
House Speaker Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, wants to get at least half of his conference to sign on to a bill to fund the government.
There are at least four factions within the House Republican Conference -- though they overlap -- against the bill as is.
One, mainly the appropriators, is concerned with the level and type of defense spending. The second is concerned with the size of the cuts. They want Democrats to come much closer to the $62 billion in cuts that they've set. The third faction will accept fewer cuts in exchange for a rider turning over family-planning funding to states (and thus taking it away from Planned Parenthood). And the fourth is most concerned about reining in the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate carbon emissions.
From the standpoint of votes, these four factions merge into two: those who want more cuts and those who are concerned about the strength of the riders. The idea being: the lower the number of cuts, the tougher the riders, or the softer the riders, the higher the number.
Boehner worries that if he assents to a bill that does not pull a majority of Republicans on board, he'll lose his job, or his credibility, or his stature. It's in his interest to hold out until the very end.
2. The White House is willing to give a little on numbers.
The Obama team is floating $35 billion in cuts today. The administration is portending doom if the government shuts down, having surrogates brief reporters on the consequences of having 800,000 people furloughed.
3. The White House thinks Boehner has to swallow his pride.
The Republican position is that the White House has to give in on a short-term extension so that Boehner can rally his troops and then accept more cuts.
4. The White House line as to why they won't accept short-term resolutions:
They've come more than halfway, certainty is needed, and "this is not a way to run a government." Also: the longer this goes on there's no telling how the politics of this conundrum will play out.