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Deal ‘Very Close’



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UPDATE (8:13 p.m.): A Republican aide tells NRO a spending deal is “very close.” House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) tells anxious reporters he is “optimistic.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) was scheduled to speak on the Senate floor at 8:00 p.m., but that’s been pushed back an hour. And Politico is now reporting that an agreement has been reached on policy riders, while discussions continue on on a final number of spending cuts.

UPDATE (8:18 p.m.): Rep. David Dreier (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Rules Committee, all but admits that a deal is imminent. “Yeah, it sure looks that way,” he said.

UPDATE (8:30 p.m.): The outline of a deal?

While leadership staff insist there is no deal yet, that caution belies significant progress in narrowing long-standing differences and the widening assumption in both parties that a shutdown will be averted and all that remains unknown is the precise procedural steps that will walk everyone back from the abyss.

Numerous GOP and Democratic sources on and off Capitol Hill tell National Journal that the outline of the deal is as follows: up to $39 billion in cuts from the 2010 budget, $514 billion in spending for the defense budget covering the remainder of this fiscal year, a GOP agreement to abandon controversial policy riders dealing with Planned Parenthood and the EPA, and an agreement to pass a “bridge” continuing resolution late Friday night to keep the government operating while the deal is written in bill form.

In short, Boehner agreed to drop the Planned Parenthood rider for a price of $1 billion in additional spending cuts.

UPDATE (8:35 p.m.): Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas) and Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) seen walking into Boehner’s office…

UPDATE (9:45 p.m.): House Republicans are meeting now to discuss “the deal.” Sen. Mike Johanns (R., Neb.) jumps, the gun, releases statement praising “three-day budget agreement.”



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