No agreement yet on budget changes to replace sequestration cuts

Nov. 23, 2013 at 11:44 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Members of Congress working on a federal budget in Washington are denying a published report a deal is near to replace mandatory across-the-board spending cuts.

Talks to be conducted during the Thanksgiving break would result in reducing or eliminating some programs that had been targeted in earlier budget talks and replace other items cut by the automatic sequester, The Hill reported Friday.

However, Eli Zupnick, a spokesman for Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and William Allison, a spokesman for Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., both denied the report, The Hill said.

Even describing the proposals as tentative were wrong, they said.

"Talks continue and Murray remains hopeful that they can reach a deal, but there is no framework or deal that has been reached," Zupnick said.

Ryan and Murray are said to be considering U.S. Postal Service reforms and increased federal employees' contributions to their retirement system, but are not considering tax hikes or major entitlement changes, the report said.

The reported agreement would prevent a second government shutdown in January and set a budget for fiscal year 2015.

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