Schumer, GOP at Opposite Poles on Budget Deal

Friday, 25 Mar 2011 01:40 PM

By Dan Weil

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Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the Democrats’ de facto Senate spokesman, expresses optimism that Republicans and Democrats can come to an agreement on a budget for the rest of fiscal 2011, which ends Sept. 30, Politico reports.

Congress has two weeks before its latest temporary budget expires, and Schumer said the outlook for compromise has improved. Congress is making “some progress” on a deal, Schumer said Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Chuck Schumer,budget,Social Security
Chuck Schumer
He said Republicans and Democrats are approaching an agreement on the magnitude of spending cuts.

“As for the grander bargain down the road, I think it’s gaining momentum, actually,” Schumer said. “I’m feeling better about it than I was.”

Schumer even raised the possibility that Congress will address entitlements, such as Social Security and Medicare.

But Republican fiscal hawks are considering demanding more budget cuts if they have to agree on another temporary budget with Democrats, The Hill reports.

Republicans would prefer to pass the budget they already have approved for the rest of fiscal 2001, which includes spending cuts of $61 billion. But that plan was rejected in a Senate vote, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says there is no way his chamber will approve the bill.

So the fiscal hawks hope instead to include amendments defunding Democratic spending programs such as healthcare reform in the short-term spending bills.

A House GOP aide told The Hill Thursday, “It is a possibility” that the party will boost its demands on Democrats to avoid a government shutdown.




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