Renewed House-Senate budget negotiations “aimed at averting a government shutdown center on possibly cutting $33 billion from current spending levels, a senior congressional aide said Wednesday,” according to the AP.
Democrats pressed to ease GOP cuts to domestic agency budgets by slowing Pentagon growth and trimming so-called mandatory programs whose budgets run on autopilot.
The $33 billion figure is well below the $60 billion-plus in cuts passed by the House last month but also represents significant movement by Senate Democrats originally backing a freeze at current rates. Tea party-backed GOP stalwarts want more, and it’s unclear whether they could live with the midway arrangement between top Democrats and Speaker John Boehner.
The talks “are occurring between the members and staff of the House and Senate appropriations committees, who understand the details of the legislation better than the leadership offices that have been doing most of the negotiations so far.”