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Lawmakers face problems on budget

WASHINGTON, March 16 (UPI) -- As U.S. House and Senate GOP leaders moved to pass 2006 budget resolutions, the prospects for a final compromise measure appeared to be waning.

The Senate is debating its version of the nearly $2.6 trillion resolution -- which guides appropriators in drafting a final 2006 spending package -- with several problematic amendments set for consideration.

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One to strip a provision allowing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that failed in votes Wednesday afternoon.

However, other key votes remain more uncertain, including one to strip cuts in Medicaid's growth rate from the measure.

The House scheduled debate on its version of the bill Wednesday afternoon, but GOP leaders have decided to move forward on the measure without making a deal with a group of House Republican fiscal hawks threatening to vote against the measure unless tougher budget enforcement rules are adopted by the body.

However, comments from House Budget Chairman Jim Nussle, R-Iowa, that he was not confident a compromise could be found between House and Senate resolutions demonstrates the toughest problem.

"It's very disappointing to us what's going on over there," Nussle told reporters. "I hate to be a naysayer about this at all, but I'm not sure how we get a conference with the Senate with where they're at."

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