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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: In a few hours Democratic leaders from the House and Senate will head up Pennsylvania Avenue to meet with President Bush. On paper at least, the plan is to try and work out a compromise on the immediate funding needs of the Iraq war. But as Marketplace's Steve Henn reports, a compromise seems highly unlikely.

STEVE HENN: When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was asked if he had any offers to make the President in today's meeting he responded:

HARRY REID: The offer is that the President sign our bill.

Truth be told, the House and Senate haven't quite passed a final bill for the President to sign, but it seems certain when Congress does deliver its $123 billion war spending package, it will set deadlines for U.S. troops to come home.

And Bush has promised a veto.

Michael O'Hanlon at the Brookings Institution says the Pentagon can move money around for a while, but. . .

MICHAEL O'HANLON: I think as you get into the June time frame certainly, the pain becomes so great it is almost inconceivable that the country's political system would tolerate that that continue.

Still, Democrats hope to deliver a bill to the President's desk by the end of this month if for no other reason than to make their point. But there's already talk of a softer, deadline-free version the President could sign.

In Washington, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.