The adults apparently are attempting to settle the looming debt crisis that is already rocking the financial markets and is threatening to put the nation in the same ugly economic position it found itself in the summer of 2008.
With GOP House Speaker John Boehner apparently unable to rein in his obstructionist second-in-command, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the top leaders in the Senate are trying to come up with a compromise that will avoid the federal government defaulting on its debts by a drop-dead Aug. 2 deadline.
"Cantor has shown he shouldn't even be at the table, and Republicans agree he shouldn't be at the table," said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.
Reid (D-Nev.) called Cantor "childish" over his pouty explanation of how President Obama dressed him down during yesterday's negotiating session at the White House.
Boehner, nonetheless, stuck by Cantor.
"We're in the foxhole," Boehner said in support of Cantor. "I'm glad Eric's there."
So with Boehner (R-Ohio) virtually muted by Cantor's mouthy negotiating style, Reid said he is trying to see if the framework of an alternative plan put forward by Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell is a path to a potential deal.
But like Boehner, McConnell (R-Ky) is wearing a partisan game face today -- at least in public.
"We refuse to let this President use the threat of a debt limit deadline to get us to cave on tax hikes or phony spending cuts," McConnell said.
The negotiators are about to sit down to talks again today very shortly, and the odds are Cantor will be on his best behavior.
Cantor is a dandy from Richmond who may have miscalculated Obama's strength -- the same mistake some people in the Virginia capital made a century and half ago about another President from Illinois.
In this case, Cantor showed up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with a Ziplock bag full of checkers only to discover that the current resident is playing chess.