Washington’s battle over the budget has intensified as the March 4th deadline for an agreement nears. Democrats over the weekend signaled a willingness to accept a stop-gap measure offered by Republicans. If approved, it would keep the government operating until mid-March. But the underlying conflict would remain. Republicans want $61 billion in spending cuts, which Democrats believe are too severe and would hurt economic recovery efforts. Complicating prospects for a longer-term solution are tea party lawmakers. They say even the Republican plan does not go far enough. The budget showdown.