Although most observers of the Federal Shutdown haven't realized it, the issue is rapidly approaching a near the point of no return.
Few realize that if a budget deal isn't reached by Friday, then furloughed Federal workers may well find themselves off work until at least October 21st.
If no deal is reached by Friday, workers risk being caught up in a combination of events which will result in much longer layoff.
First, we are approaching a Federal three day weekend. If workers are to be called back, the order must go out by Noon on Friday or there won't be enough time to pass the order through the bureaucracy as the few remaining workers head home for the long week end. They won't return until Tuesday.
Second, by Tuesday, October 15th, the emphasis in Congress will have switched to the Budget Ceiling deadline of Thursday, October 17 and the Federal Shutdown will become a secondary issue as Congress and the White House battle over budget cuts.
Assuming a deal is reached on the debt ceiling by Thursday, October 17th and includes a settlement of the Shutdown, the order to come back to work will come so late that most employees won't be ordered back until the following Monday which is October 21st.
In short, if something doesn't happen soon, it won't happen for quite a while.