Budget committees a few billion short of agreement

Dec. 6, 2013 at 8:15 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- House and Senate lawmakers are a few billion dollars shy of a budget agreement that could end some across-the-board spending cuts, sources told Politico.

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate counterpart Patty Murray, D-Wash., were expected to work through the weekend in an effort to find those few billion dollars and craft a budget agreement, Politico reported Thursday.

A deal by a 29-member House-Senate conference committee must be worked out by early next week to give both chambers time to approve and pass the measure by the Dec. 13 deadline set as part of the October deal that ended the government's 16-day partial shutdown.

In the deal, approved by lawmakers Oct. 16, the government is funded through Jan. 15 at sequester levels and the federal debt limit is suspended until Feb. 7.

If a deal is not worked out, new automatic spending cuts amounting roughly to $90 billion below the $1.058 trillion cap lawmakers put in place in 2011 would kick in.

Ryan and Murray have discussed keeping the sequester level deficit reduction by finding other ways to reduce the federal budget, Politico said. They are considering things like increased fees on airline tickets and other "user fees" for certain government services.

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