Washington (CNN) - The congressional standoff over disaster relief funding that is threatening a government shutdown might be resolved as early as Monday night, several Senate Democratic aides told CNN Monday.
The aides said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency may be able to say it can stretch its depleted funds through the fiscal year – which ends Friday – and new funding kicks in Saturday October 1st.
Exactly when FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund will run out of money has been a moving target. Last week, congressional Democrats and Republicans warned it could be as early as Monday or Tuesday.
However, on Monday morning, a FEMA official told CNN it had $114 million in the fund, which would last until mid-week.
By Monday afternoon, FEMA lengthened its estimate to "close to the end of the week."
If FEMA can make it through the end of week, Senate Democrats say they won't need to pass special funding for disaster relief as part of a temporary government funding measure nor the corresponding cost offsets House Republicans approved but that Senate Democrats oppose.
Instead, Senate Democrats would try to pass a straight funding measure to keep the government operating through November 18th. A senior Senate GOP leadership aide said Senate Republicans would likely go along with such a plan since the need for extra FEMA funding would be moot.
A Senate vote on such a measure could come as early as Monday evening but aides stressed the emerging path out of the nasty political logjam would only be available if FEMA can assure lawmakers it has enough money so that ongoing relief efforts are not disrupted.
A congressional source from one of the states affected by recent disasters told CNN their office has been in close contact with FEMA because of concerns in their state about funding situation and that they were told that – based on the $114 million left to cover disaster costs– "they think that will get them to Friday" the source says. But FEMA stressed that there are a number of variables – a surge in claims, or another disaster" that could impact that number, the source said.
This source says FEMA said– on average dealing with recent events– it has been spending about $30-40 million per day. When FEMA was asked what happens if it runs run out of money, this source says FEMA said it does not have the authority to borrow money and they would "mission assign – direct other agencies to protect life and property." FEMA said it would have to turn to Department of Defense or Homeland Security or others to help with these priorities, the source said.
This congressional source also notes, "It's never been done before."