House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wants more spending than House Republicans have put in their stopgap spending bill in return for Democratic votes.
Pelosi on Thursday came closer to suggesting that Democrats would withhold votes from a "clean" continuing resolution that continued the sequester at $986 billion.
The House is expected to pass a stopgap spending measure on Friday that also includes language to defund the president's health care law, and the Senate seems likely to strip that defunding language and return to the other chamber a "clean" bill that maintains the sequester.
At that point, House Democrats will have to make a choice about what they will and won't accept, given that they c0uld suddenly have leverage to make or break the CR when a significant number of Republicans peel off support for lack of Obamacare defunding.
Pelosi wouldn't get into specifics.
"We're not demanding 1058 but we do think there's a compromise that can be reached," said Pelosi, referring to the $1.058 trillion pre-sequester level Democrats have long sought. "But I can't tell you what we will take until we see what the bill is, and the Democrats will supply votes if Democrats have a say in what the legislation is."
She noted Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer has said that he would not vote for the existing House CR spending level.
"If they want Democratic votes in the house, our whip has been very very forceful and he speaks for our [caucus] almost across the board when he says we just cannot have that number, which is really $20 billion less as you know by January.
"We'll see when it comes back but right now the mood is not favorable to a [$986 billion bill]."
Under the 2011 budget law, the sequester would slice spending to $967 billion in January regardless of what level is in the short-term bill, unless Congress alters the sequester.