Top Democrats: Bipartisan budget talks positive


WASHINGTON (AP) Developments on  Monday, Jan. 8, about the budget battle in Congress (all times Eastern Standard Time).

  • 5:20 p.m.

The top Democrats in Congress said a meeting to try to forge a bipartisan budget deal was “positive and productive.”

The rosy assessments came after a Capitol meeting between Trump administration representatives and the top leaders in Congress. Republicans also issued a statement expressing hope that “further discussions will lead to an agreement soon.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California said after the session with Trump administration director Mick Mulvaney and senior Republican lawmakers “all parties have agreed to continue discussing a path forward to quickly resolve all of the issues ahead of us.”

Those issues include increasing spending for both the Pentagon and domestic agencies, immigration and border enforcement, disaster aid, and renewal of an expired children’s health insurance program.

  • 3:40 p.m.

Trump administration officials and congressional leaders from both parties met in the Capitol to try to make progress on a stack of unfinished Washington business, starting with a hoped-for bipartisan budget deal.

The session in Speaker Paul Ryan’s office came with little more than two weeks before the next threatened government shutdown. Topping the agenda was an effort to spare both the Pentagon and domestic Cabinet agencies from spending cuts.

The budget debate has been roiled by Democratic demands that nondefense programs win increases equal to those to be awarded to the Pentagon. That was a feature of prior budget pacts negotiated during former President Barack Obama’s tenure. Republicans said the idea should be scrapped under Trump.