Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.
Deal or no deal? CNN's Dana Bash reports on budget talks. Plus, the latest on winter weather.
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas, said Monday he's hopeful Democratic and Republican negotiators in the Senate can broker a deal that would allow government to re-open and prevent the budget from bumping up against the debt ceiling.
"We got very close to an agreement," Pryor told CNN's Jake Tapper. "We went and talked to our two leaders [Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell] and said, look, here's where we are, this is what we think we can accomplish."
Pryor also indicated that he does not expect Democrats to exceed the sequester level spending caps established by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Rand Paul told CNN's Candy Crowley Sunday that he was not willing to accept a proposal from Senate negotiators that called for going over the established cap. Pryor, a Democrat from a conservative state, rebuffed Paul's claim, insisting that he believes spending levels will remain the same.
"I know there are people that would like to raise those and people that would like to lower those," Pryor said. "But my guess is, we end up staying with those numbers."
Kevin Madden, Donna Brazile, and Politico's Mike Allen join Jake Tapper to discuss how Republican in-fighting over the government shutdown and debt ceiling debate resembles the final scene from the 1979 classic, "Apocalypse Now."
The drama over the debt ceiling and the government shutdown will hurt the U.S. economy even after (and if) Congress reaches a deal, warns former director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter Orszag.
How did we get here? Orszag describes how the deep partisan divide in U.S. politics has lead to leaders with wildly different ideas of how the U.S. economy should function.
The debt ceiling debate is just the latest arena where we have seen this dynamic play out, says Orszag.
"The middle in Congress is gone," claims Orszag – describing that in the past, deals like the debt ceiling were ironed out by politicians on the left and right who found common ground.
"It's just much harder to find agreements on things when you've got two adamantly opposed, much different perspectives on the world."
It was on its face disturbing, even shocking news - two military officials in charge of the nation's nuclear arsenal sacked within days of each other.
But Major General Michael Carey and Vice Admiral Tim Giardina (fired amidst rumors of misbehavior involving alcohol and gambling) are just the latest in a recent rash of firings in the military's top ranks.
The firings come as leadership in the military try to send a message of "zero tolerance" when it comes to bad behavior.
The military has been here before - last fall a string of incidents involving improper behavior among top brass resulted in then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordering a review of ethics standards.
Officials tell CNN that in the case of the nuclear commander fired Friday that no sensitive nuclear weapons operations were impacted.
Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, told CNN's Jake Tapper on Monday that he worries Senate Republicans will again kick the can down the road when it comes to the debt ceiling, a move that could hurt their chances of taking back the upper chamber in the upcoming 2014 elections.
"The problem with Senate Republicans is that they always want to have a fight the next time," Labrador said. "They always want to wait until the next time. If they continue to pussyfoot around like they do in these battles, they're never going to be able to take back the Senate."