The Senate was said to be near a deal on Tuesday to end the roadblock by Sen. James Bunning (R-Ky.) halting federal highway construction projects and unemployment benefits.
"We're going to be able to work out the short-term extension in the very near future," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, also from Kentucky, said, “and we're in the process of working on that now,” the New York Times reported.
Bunning insisted for the fifth legislative day that the $10 billion cost of jobless benefits, road construction and a handful of other government programs should not add to the federal debt. Funding for the programs expired Sunday night, and Bunning used a procedural maneuver to prevent the Senate from renewing them.
Other Republicans agreed in principle with Bunning, but they were nervous that standing in the way of jobs and unemployment benefits would backfire.
"This doesn't represent the position of the caucus," said Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Republican leadership.
"Today we have a clear-cut example to show the American people what's wrong with Washington," said Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state.
Unemployment benefits could run out in the next two weeks for 400,000 Americans, the New York Times reported, and at the U.S. Department of Transportation, 2,000 employees were furloughed without pay on Monday, affecting more than 40 construction projects. States will reportedly lose $950 million each week of the shutdown in federal reimbursements.