Senate leader Reid says sides are ready to find common ground.
OVERSIGHT - ALL ARTICLES
Plan would have no impact on actual shutdown.
Shorter confirmation list is part of an effort to improve the chamber's efficiency.
The price tag of such programs has risen by $135 billion since 2008, and more than half of that resulted from poor management or execution problems, watchdog says.
GOP strategists privately admit that the president has a good chance of winning reelection in 2012.
Tea party wing rejects tentative deal to cut roughly $30 billion in cuts from current spending levels, boosting odds of a shutdown.
Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., wants to require the federal government to give Medicare reimbursement rates a closer look.
A look at some federal services that shut down in 1995-96 -- and could again.
Interviews leave many basic questions unanswered about the mission's duration, point and endgame.
They have held off on filling some vacancies and slowed grants and contracts that require up-front funding.