Congress nearing deal to fund the government through the rest of the year

House and Senate leadership Thursday approached a deal to fund the government for six months — a move that would avert a Sept. 30 shutdown, and keep the federal government operating through March.

The deal would keep the government funded at the same levels of last year’s debt limit law, a spending level Republicans have consistently dismissed as too high. But it would also avert a messy pre-election showdown over shutting down the government, something neither party wants…

Republicans are also struggling to make a deal on a major package of business tax breaks, known as “tax extenders.” These special interest tax provisions may be on the chopping block, thanks to opposition from House conservatives. The tax breaks ranging from alternative energy to research and development, and have always been favored by the business community, but tea party leaders see them as special interest tax handouts.