Negotiators nearing budget deal to avert another shutdown

Budget Committee heads Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., are nearing a budget agreement that could help avert the threat of another government shutdown. Alex Wong, Getty Images

The chairs of the House and Senate Budget Committees, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., seem poised to announce a budget deal that will set spending levels for the 2014 fiscal year and preempt another government shutdown in January.

Up against a tight deadline – the House leaves for the rest of the year on Friday, leaving just three days left where both chambers will be in Washington – Ryan told reporters “don’t leave” the Capitol Tuesday evening, adding that he will be holding a news conference, according to CBS News Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes.

But even if Ryan and Murray come to a deal, there’s no guarantee their colleagues will go along with it.

The two lawmakers have been working to reconcile House and Senate budgets that were just $91 billion apart in dollar figures but separated by a deep chasm in ideology. Though there were differences in how to do it, both sides seemed to broadly agree that the 2014 budget should undo across-the-board spending cuts mandated by the sequester.

But several outside conservative groups came out against the outlines of the deal this week, threatening to gut the Republican support needed to pass a deal in the House.

Heritage Action, the advocacy arm of the Heritage Foundation think tank issued a statement Monday saying they “cannot support a budget deal that would increase spending in the near-term for promises of woefully inadequate long-term reductions. While imperfect, the sequester has proven to be an effective tool in forcing Congress to reduce discretionary spending, and a gimmicky, spend-now-cut-later deal will take our nation in the wrong direction.”

Democrats have had their own issues with the emerging agreement, including the possibility that it might omit an extension of emergency unemployment benefits or ask federal workers to contribute more to their retirement funds to raise revenue.

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and Rob Nabors, the top White House legislative liaison, briefed House and Senate Democrats today on the details of a budget deal, reports CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett. A White House official said the administration expects the deal to be announced Tuesday night and is confident it can pass with minimal Democratic opposition.

According to the aide, the deal would set spending totals for two years, softens the scheduled across-the-board spending cuts under sequestration and use many of the president’s suggestions to raise revenue and offset spending cuts, like selling wireless spectrum, or asking federal workers to contribute more to retirement plans. The deal would take the threat of another government shutdown off the table for two years.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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