Deal reached on federal gov't funding

July 31, 2012 at 9:51 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 31 (UPI) -- A tentative deal to avoid a federal government shutdown was reached Tuesday, removing the funding as an election issue, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.

The Nevada Democrat said he, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Democratic President Barack Obama had agreed on a measure that will keep federal agencies going until the end of March, Roll Call reported.

"This agreement reached between the Senate, the House and the White House provides stability for the coming months, when we will have to resolve critical issues that directly affect middle-class families," Reid said in a statement.

"I hope that we can face the challenges ahead in the same spirit of compromise."

Obama press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement issued by the White House the agreement was "a welcome development."

"The president has made clear that it is essential that the legislation to fund the government adheres to the funding levels agreed to by both parties last year, and not include ideological or extraneous policy riders," Carney said. "The president will work with leaders in both parties to sign a bill that accomplishes these goals."

Politico reported the lawmakers set spending at $1.047 trillion, the level set in the 2011 Budget Control Act. The Washington publication noted the amount is above the $1.028 trillion Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., had called for in his budget proposal.

Politico said sources expect final votes on the measure won't take place until September.

The New York Times described the tentative deal as a sharp contrast to previous episodes of brinkmanship that put the federal government on the verge of a shutdown. The agreement this time came well ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline for spending bills.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told the Times he likely will not support the measure but conceded avoiding a debate over the funding issue was "a good idea."

Sen. Thad Cochran, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations panel, expressed the same sentiment to the Washington publication Roll Call.

"I think it's a good idea to pass an appropriations bill as soon as we can," the Mississippi Republican said. "The agencies and departments need to have something they can count on in term of budget numbers for the next fiscal year. So the sooner we do this, the better off we are going to be."

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