Tuesday, December 3, 2013

House Returns, Eyes Budget Deal

By Drew Thies

With less than two weeks left in the legislative calendar, Members of House returned to work Monday to conclude any final business before December 13th, the final scheduled day both Chambers will be in session.

Many in both chambers are worried about the automatic sequester cuts which will trigger if no end-of-year-deal is reached. The 29-member, bicameral, bipartisan budget panel, tasked with finding enough savings and revenue to partially offset some of the sequester, also has a self-imposed deadline of December 13th.

Though the Senate does not resume work until next week, the budget panel’s ranking Senator, Patty Murray (D-WA), returned to Washington this week to resume talks with the panel’s top Congressman, Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Though both sides have released generally optimistic statements about the prospect of a deal, details have been scarce. On Monday evening, Ryan said little more than, “We’re making progress. We’re talking.”

If no deal is reached, the government will again run out of funding on January 15th, at which point another stop-gap measure will have to be approved to avoid a shutdown.

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