Here are a few keys: House Speaker John Boehner says an extension of unemployment benefits isn't out of the question: "If the president has a plan for extending unemployment benefits, I'd surely entertain taking a look at it." Democrats are pushing hard on the extension, including President Obama who urged Congress to pass the extension in his speech on the economy Wednesday.
If it was needed, that's more proof that Republicans are chastened by the beating they took in public polling as a result of the shutdown. But there are other factors, too. Like the fact that defense hawks desperately want to avoid the hard hit the sequester would have on the Pentagon this round. There are still lingering problems, however, namely the Republican House of Representatives.
The primary obstacle to a budget deal is House conservatives, who tend to have their way in the chamber, and want to preserve every dollar of spending cuts under the sequester. If the Ryan-Murray talks collapse, the chances of a shutdown increase dramatically because a stopgap bill at $967 billion may not be able to pass the House. Republican military hawks and appropriators would likely rebel, and Democrats have made clear they they won't accept another clean continuing resolution at the sequester level.And three of those conservative House Republicans are already trying to set the stage for a shutdown. They're lobbying GOP leadership to say they'll only do a clean continuing resolution (no Obamacare repeal ridiculousness) if the funding bill is at the low, sequester level. That's got the potential to split the GOP conference, because the aforementioned defense hawks don't want those lower spending levels to be enforced.
All of which, basically, means that we're back to where we always seem to be in budget/debt ceiling/shutdown showdowns. Will Boehner lead? Will he cut his crazy caucus loose? Given his track record so far, don't take any bets on that.