Speaker John Boehner is pushing to finalize the outlines of a deal to fund the federal government before he leaves Congress this week and hands the top House job over to Paul Ryan, congressional officials said Monday.
The delicate negotiations are aimed at dispensing with the thorniest issue awaiting Ryan, set to be elected later this week.
Congress also must raise the federal borrowing limit by Nov. 3 or risk a first-ever default.
The budget talks are separate but related. Money to pay for government operations runs out Dec. 11 unless Congress acts. Top House and Senate aides have been meeting with White House officials in search of a deal that would give both the Pentagon and domestic agencies budget relief in exchange for cuts elsewhere in the budget.
“We’re just trying to get something done as soon as we can,” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Monday as he left the Capitol headed for a lunch hosted by former senators at the Metropolitan Club, where President Barack Obama was also to be in attendance.
Asked whether a deal could be announced Monday or Tuesday, Reid said: “We’ll see.”
With time running out in Boehner’s tenure, congressional officials said he is pushing for a deal. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about confidential negotiations.
The budget deal is aimed at funding the government beyond a Dec. 11 deadline while also lifting onerous caps on military spending, a GOP priority, and on domestic programs, a goal sought by Democrats.
Just days are left to finalize talks with Ryan, R-Wisconsin, set to be elected on Thursday to replace Boehner, R-Ohio, who is leaving Congress under pressure from conservative lawmakers disgusted with his history of seeking compromise and Democratic votes on issues like the budget.