Budget Deal May Be Cut Today

As negotiators press to close a budget deal by the end of the day, differences between the two sides have narrowed down to between $50 billion and $100 billion, with the major stumbling block remaining the level of discretionary spending, Senate Majority Leader Lott said today.

"I still think we're very close," Lott told reporters.

And House Budget Chairman Kasich -- who has been among the more pessimistic negotiators -- said: "For the first time, I can tell you I can see the top of the mountain. Frankly, we'd like to see if we can get this done today." Kasich added, however, that a "couple of really big fundamental differences" remain.

Lott said Democrats are continuing to push for more discretionary spending than Republicans want. He said the two sides are getting closer on the size of a tax cut. White House officials Tuesday night told Democrats the Republicans want a net tax cut of $100 billion.

Kasich briefed House Republicans on the budget talks this morning. After that meeting, Rep. Robert Ehrlich, R-Md., said it appears Republicans are "getting a lot of what we want."

Ehrlich, a Budget Committee member, said the deal would include significant entitlement reform and an acceptable estate and capital gains tax cut. But he said the question is how much domestic spending the White House will demand in exchange for those concessions.

"If there's a lot more domestic discretionary spending, it's going to be tough to sell it to the [Republican] Conference," he said.

Lott and Kasich also tried to lower expectations. "It won't be a perfect agreement from any viewpoint," Lott said.

And Kasich said, "It's not the program I would write."

In case the talks fold, House Budget Committee Republicans are prepared to meet Thursday to try to put the finishing touches on a budget plan the committee could mark up next week.

Meanwhile, Democrats continue to be disturbed about several issues. Many House Democrats Tuesday attacked the administration for negotiating while the GOP has yet to develop a budget.

"The Democrats want the president to negotiate," House Minority Leader Gephardt said today, adding, "We have a disagreement on timing."

Gephardt said many Democrats would "rather that the process go its normal route."

In the Senate, Labor and Human Resources Committee Democrats sent President Clinton a letter urging him to protect education funding levels. And Senate Minority Leader Daschle warned if Clinton is forced to veto the supplemental spending bill because it contains a permanent continuing resolution, it could deal a "death blow" to the budget talks.

"If this goes through, it would be virtually impossible" for Democrats to support a budget deal, Daschle said of the continuing resolution.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.