Lawmakers Near Budget Deal, Policy Riders Trigger Objections
Although no agreements have been reached, congressional leaders appeared to be nearing a deal Wednesday to split the difference on spending cuts and avert a government shutdown. However, negotiators were still at odds over policy proposals designed to strip the measure of health law funding, among other things.
The Washington Post: Republicans And Democrats Begin Negotiating Possible Budget Agreement
Spending cuts are not the only issue up for negotiation. As part of their initial budget package, Republicans included unrelated amendments - called "riders" - that would impose restrictions on federal agencies. Democrats have objected to many of them, including one that would prohibit federal funding to Planned Parenthood and another that would weaken the Environmental Protection Agency's power to regulate carbon emissions (Kane, 3/30).
Los Angeles Times: Congressional Budget Deal Is Near, Biden Says
Nonetheless, a spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said that no agreement had been reached. Republicans have been fighting not only for a higher level of cuts but for inclusion of their policy priorities, such as defunding Planned Parenthood and President Obama's health care overhaul (Mascaro and Memoli, 3/31).
The Wall Street Journal: Lawmakers Near Deal On Spending
Congressional leaders and the White House neared a deal Wednesday to avert a government shutdown, an agreement Democrats said would split the difference between the two parties over how deeply to cut federal spending. Republicans, however, said that the final number was not set. In addition, they cautioned that no deal would be final until the two parties had agreed on a set of policy proposals, demanded by conservatives, that would strip funding from the Democratic-backed health care law, alter environmental regulations and change other administration priorities (Hook and Lee, 3/31).