The Hill – House lines up year-end blitz

Here.  The Budget and sequestration are among the topics that will be discussed.  An excerpt:

3) Budget conference

The 29-member budget conference committee, led by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), has the highest profile and the lowest expectations. The panel emerged from the deal that re-opened the government and lifted the debt ceiling in October after the 16-day shutdown.

Ryan and Murray quickly dampened hopes for any kind of “grand bargain,” but lawmakers, lobbyists and aides are skeptical that the committee could overcome the deep divide over taxes and spending to reach even a modest budget accord. But officials in both parties reported progress last week as Ryan and Murray sought an agreement that would produce a top-line spending level for two years while replacing sequestration cuts with a combination of other spending reductions and, potentially, non-tax revenue increases.

Ryan told senior Republicans this week he was “mildly optimistic” about a deal by the committee’s Dec. 13 deadline. No announcement is expected before Thanksgiving. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said he is hopeful, but he has also declared that if no agreement is reached, the House would pass a continuing resolution maintaing sequestration spending levels. The current stopgap spending bill expires on Jan. 15.

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