Vice President Joe Biden says Republicans and Democrats are now "working off the same number"
credit: Larry Downing/Reuters
Congressional leaders appear to be pulling back from the brink of a government shutdown next weekend, as House Republicans and Senate Democrats seem to be inching closer toward a spending compromise in private even as they keep up a public war of words.
Leaving a meeting with Senate Democratic leaders, Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday evening that House and Senate negotiators had reached a partial agreement and were now "working off the same number," after the Appropriations chairmen in both chambers had agreed on $73 billion in total cuts from the spending levels proposed in President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget proposal--or $33 billion from current levels. Republicans had pledged to cut $100 billion from Obama's fiscal 2011 budget during the midterm elections campaign.
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The specific cuts that will make up that $73-billion number are still to be decided and Biden stopped short of declaring a deal, saying there was much left to negotiate.