No Budget Deal as Talks Break for Weekend

Image: No Budget Deal as Talks Break for Weekend

Thursday, 05 Dec 2013 09:02 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The two leaders of the high-stakes bipartisan budget talks — House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and his counterpart in the Senate, Patty Murray — have left Washington for the weekend and no agreement is expected until next week, CNN reported Thursday night.

Republican Ryan has returned to Wisconsin and Democrat Murray is in Washington state, CNN reported, citing the lawmakers' aides.

The talks, nevertheless, have been positive, with one Democratic aide close to the negotiations telling CNN both sides think the final items in question are "bridgeable."

If Murray and Ryan can agree on spending levels and whether to roll back some of the budget cuts, that would settle the most contentious issues lying ahead in the January spending debate and essentially pave a shutdown-free road to the next funding bill.

The two sides have a nearly $100 billion gap to bridge, CNN noted.

Entering the talks, Republicans had pushed for an annual spending level of $967 billion, while Democrats set their level at $1.058 trillion.

Murray and Ryan's budget conference committee has until Dec. 13 to set the spending level for the federal government. If they fail, it would set off another potential budget showdown.

Current government funding runs out in January near the same time as billions in new budget cuts are set to hit.

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