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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Murray: No shutdown but budget fight continues

WASHINGTON — The government is likely to remain open, but the budget fight in Congress is far from over.

That’s what Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Tuesday as the Senate and House scrambled to push back the federal budget deadline to December amid sharp partisan disagreements.

Republicans are calling for spending cuts in many programs, including Planned Parenthood, while Democrats want to keep them going and seek other ways to mend the $18 trillion national debt.

A continuing resolution, which would reset the shutdown deadline to Dec. 11, is expected to pass the Senate and House by Wednesday morning and be signed by President Obama before the fiscal year ends by midnight.

Then Congress will have six weeks to resolve budget issues it faced the whole year and unless discussions begin very soon, it will be facing that deadline, she said.

It’s unclear what impact the Republican leadership shuffle in the wake of House Speaker John Boehner’s resignation will have on negotiations, Murray said. “If the demands of the tea party control the Republican caucus in the House, it is going to be difficult to find resolution with a lot of complex issues on the table,” she said.

Once the deadline is extended, Congress should address topics such as raising the debt ceiling, passing a transportation bill and reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, she said.