U.S. budget conferees hear about dire challenges

By United Press International  |  Nov. 13, 2013 at 2:09 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- House and Senate budget negotiators said they remained hopeful about reaching a deal despite minimal progress made during their meeting Wednesday.

The budget conference committee met for the second time Wednesday morning and had little to report when they adjourned, The Washington Post said.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, told reporters she and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., were still laying the groundwork for the meat of the discussions.

"I am hopeful we will get to a bipartisan compromise very soon," said Murray.

The conference committee faces a Jan. 15 deadline to either get a budget through the contentious Congress or face another government shutdown.

"This amplifies the stakes for our conference committee," Rep. Lowrey, D-N.Y., said as she left the meeting room.

Much of Wednesday's session was devoted to a briefing with Doug Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, who warned that a sluggish economy and rising healthcare and retirement spending presented ominous obstacles to the conferees, the Post said.

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