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Rep. Christopher Van Hollen, Jr.

Lawmakers Urge Budget Negotiators to Set Spending Cap

A senior U.S. Senate Democrat and a high-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives urged congressional budget negotiators on Thursday to agree on a 2014 spending level by Nov. 22 - even if they have not yet figured out how to achieve any required savings.Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Barbara Mikulski and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers said identifying a cap on discretionary spending was their top priority as talks to reduce automatic, "sequester" spending cuts began this week.The sooner that number is determined, the better the chance that lawmakers can pass new spending legislation in time to avoid another government shutdown threat on Jan. 15, they said in a letter to the leaders of the negotiating panel.Deciding quickly on a spending level would provide budget negotiators with an early target for the size of any potential deal. They would then have to find savings to replace that amount of sequester cuts."We believe that if an agreement on a d...

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