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House Republican leaders reach budget deal with White House

House Republican leaders strike budget accord with Obama, vote possible by Wednesday

House Republican leaders reach budget deal with White House

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Republican leaders struck a budget deal made with the White House aimed at averting a government shutdown and forestalling a debt crisis.

The deal would take budget showdowns and government shutdown fights off the table until after the 2016 presidential election, a potential boon to Republican candidates who might otherwise face uncomfortable questions about messes in the Republican-led Congress.

Such standoffs have been a regular occurrence between Congressional Republicans and the Obama administration, leading to a 16-day partial government shutdown in 2013 and a first-ever downgrade of the nation's credit rating by Standard & Poor's in 2011.

Congress must raise the federal borrowing limit by Nov. 3 or risk a first-ever default, while money to pay for government operations runs out Dec. 11 unless Congress acts. The emerging framework would give both the Pentagon and domestic agencies two years of budget relief of $80 billion in exchange for cuts elsewhere in the budget.

The leader of the House, Speaker John Boehner, was making one final appeal to restive Republicans: Pass the hard-won agreement with President Barack Obama before Rep. Paul Ryan assumes the speaker's job later this week.

Boehner is leaving Congress under pressure from conservative lawmakers angered by his history of seeking compromise and Democratic votes on issues like the budget. His departure set off a scramble to find a new speaker who could unify House Republicans, and party leaders persuaded Ryan, a former vice presidential candidate, to take on the challenge. The budget pact, in concert with a must-pass increase in the federal borrowing limit, would solve the thorniest issues awaiting him.

But Boehner encountered immediate resistance when he laid out the plan Monday night. His plan is for members to vote on the deal Wednesday.

Outlined for rank-and-file Republicans in a closed-door session Monday night, the budget relief would total $50 billion in the first year and $30 billion in the second year.

A chief selling point for Republican leaders is that the alternative is chaos and a stand-alone debt limit increase that might be forced on Republicans. But conservatives in the conference who drove Boehner to resign were not ready to fall in line.

"This is again just the umpteenth time that you have this big, big, huge deal that'll last for two years and we were told nothing about it," said Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana.

"I'm not excited about it at all," said Rep. Matt Salmon, an Arizona Republican. "A two-year budget deal that raises the debt ceiling for basically the entire term of this presidency."

The measure under discussion would suspend the current $18.1 trillion debt limit through March 2017.

The budget side of the deal is aimed at undoing automatic spending cuts which are a byproduct of a 2011 budget and debt deal and the failure of Washington to subsequently tackle the government's fiscal woes. Republican defense hawks are a driving force, intent on reversing the automatic cuts and getting more money for the military.

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Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Stephen Ohlemacher contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-09-18 19:49 GMT+08:00