Discuss as:

Congress: Let's make a deal

“After weeks of arguing, Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill began negotiations yesterday on a possible budget agreement that would slash federal spending by as much as $33 billion and avert a government shutdown,” the Washington Post reports. “‘We’re all working off the same number now,’ Vice President Joe Biden told reporters after meeting with Senate Democratic leaders at the Capitol yesterday evening. ‘Obviously, there’s a difference in the composition of that number — what’s included, what’s not included. It’s going to be a thorough negotiation.’” And there’s this fact: “If approved, the deal would be the largest single-year budget cut in US history.”

“The White House and congressional Republicans edged closer to a budget deal Wednesday, as House and Senate Appropriations staff resumed negotiations at the direction of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio),” The Hill adds. “A source familiar with the talks said members of the Senate and House Appropriations panels are working toward a target of $33 billion in spending cuts. The $33 billion goal splits the difference between $30 billion in cuts Senate Democrats have proposed and $36 billion in cuts Boehner suggested in talks with White House officials, according to the source.”

“Senate Democrats are discussing plans to introduce tax policy changes that they say would raise federal revenues and broaden the budget debate beyond discretionary spending cuts,” The Hill reports, adding, “Democrats want to take the offensive and propose higher tax rates for millionaires, companies that move factories overseas and wealthy people who make charitable contributions.”

“House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will largely give Social Security a pass in his highly anticipated budget while proposing a significant overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid, according to sources briefed on the plan,” The Hill reports.

ACORN, NPR, what’s next? AARP, apparently. “Republicans have launched an assault on AARP, which joins a growing list of groups supportive of the Democrats’ agenda that are being targeted by conservatives,” Roll Call reports.

“Over fierce Democratic opposition, the House on Wednesday approved a bill to reestablish a school-choice voucher system for Washington, D.C., residents,” The Hill reports.