Appropriators reach spending deal

House and Senate appropriators have reached a deal on a $900 billion 2012 spending plan for a broad swath of the federal government but they said Monday they were refraining from filing it for at least a day because of technical issues.

"We have a bipartisan, bicameral agreement in place on the package," said House Appropriations Committee spokeswoman Jennifer Hing.

"However, we had some delays today, and now need additional time to complete the technicalities of putting the bill together to make sure all our i's are dotted and our t's are crossed -- as well as waiting on [the Congressional Budget Office] to provide us with official scoring of the bill. We hope to file the package tomorrow," Hing said.

Given the walking-a-tightrope nature of major spending bills all year, no one can be sure the measure is completed until its filed or that it can pass until Congress votes. But the announcement Monday night suggests lawmakers are close to clearing a major obstacle to leaving town for the holiday recess.

Lawmakers still need to come to an agreement on a package of extenders -- an extension of the payroll-tax cut which expires at year's end, unemployment insurance, and the so-called Medicare "doc fix." House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, expressed confidence that agreements could be found but he also reiterated his commitment to the Keystone pipeline that the Obama administration wants to study further.

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