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Members Sound Off on Budget Deal Chances

Here’s where congressional leaders stand on the prospect of another budget deal, which would presumably adhere to a similar framework to the December 2013 agreement negotiated by then-Budget Committee Chairmen Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Patty Murray, D-Wash. That agreement boosted defense and nondefense discretionary spending equally above the sequester level for two years, offset by fee increases and changes to mandatory programs.

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio: “If there’s a way to reduce mandatory spending in a way that would provide relief to the sequester, like we did with the Ryan-Murray budget plan, have at it.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.: “Do I believe we can come to an agreement while the president’s still in office? No, because the president keeps saying he wants to raise taxes. … The challenge with sequester is the president says the only way he’ll lift it is if you raise taxes. That’s not gonna happen. … If you look at the Ryan agreement, if you wanted to do something different, what Republicans have always said if we make some mandatory savings in mandatory spending, we can offset that for discretionary. That has always been the basis. The president would have to change his opinion.”

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.: “The position I am in and the Democrats are in is that we believe the sequester needs to be changed a la Ryan-Murray or some other agreement because [the subcommittee allocations] are unrealistic, they are ill-conceived, and they will harm America if pursued.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: “I’m sure the Democrats will complain that we’re not spending enough on the domestic side. But all of that could be sorted out in the appropriations process.”

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.: “I want to get rid of the sequester. If that’s a deal, then I’m in favor of it.”

Vice Chairman of the Senate Democratic Conference Charles E. Schumer of New York: “Republicans should be warned right here, right now: Democrats are not going to help you pass appropriations bills that lock in senseless, automatically triggered cuts that hurt the middle class.”

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