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NAM: House, Senate negotiators close to “modest” budget deal

The New York Times (12/6, Weisman, Subscription Publication) reports that House and Senate negotiators on Thursday“closed in” on a “modest” budget deal that could “break the cycle of fiscal crises and brinkmanship” that has “hampered the economic recovery” and tanked Congress’ approval ratings. However, negotiators “encountered last-minute resistance from House Democratic leaders who said any deal should be accompanied by an extension of expiring unemployment benefits.” However, it was not clear “how serious a threat the demand posed to a deal” that has been “largely worked out” by Senate Budget Chair Patty Murray and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan.

On its front page, the Wall Street Journal (12/5, Paletta, Peterson, Subscription Publication) reports that the proposed two-year deal would see spending of about $1 trillion over each of the next two years, splitting the difference between the House and the Senate. However, the precise details are not yet finalized. Those familiar with the talks say that the deal would not contain any serious changes, but would use targeted changes to offset some sequestration cuts.

Politico (12/6, Sherman, Bresnahan) reports that Ryan and Murray “are only a few billion dollars in budgetary savings away from a deal that would set spending levels and blunt the impact of across-the-board spending cuts for the next two years,” but “hurdles remain.” The two will “work through the weekend” to try and sort out the situation in time for action before the House adjourns on December 13. The plan would include no new taxes, but some increase in fees, such as those on airline tickets.

The AP (12/6, Taylor) also describes the potential deal as “modest” and warns that the “going is getting rougher.” In particular, the AP cites a pledge Thursday by House Minority Leader Pelosi to “withhold support from any compromise to ease across-the-board cuts until Republicans also agree to renew expiring unemployment benefits for America’s long-term jobless.”

Bloomberg News (12/5, Przybyla, Cook), The Hill (12/6, Lillis) and other media sources also cover the story.

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