Baucus, Inouye named for Obama budget talks

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 14, 2011 7:03 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic Senators Daniel Inouye and Max Baucus will sit on a bipartisan negotiating team tasked with hammering out a plan to cut U.S. deficits, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said on Thursday.

President Barack Obama hopes the group can come up with a workable budget plan by the end of June that can pass both the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Obama has asked Republicans and Democrats from both chambers to participate in the negotiations, which would be led by Vice President Joe Biden.

Reid is the only congressional leader to name members to the group so far. Obama hopes the discussions will begin in early May.

As chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Inouye oversees spending bills in the Senate. Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee, is the chamber's top tax writer.

The talks could resolve a logjam of budget battles that are likely to dominate Washington in the coming months.

Congress must hold a vote to raise the country's soon-to-be-reached $14.3 trillion debt limit in order to avoid a default on its obligations, and the two parties are advancing starkly different budget plans for the fiscal year that starts October 1.

Congress solved a budget battle earlier on Thursday when both the House and the Senate approved a long-overdue spending plan for the current fiscal year that began October 1. That measure includes a record $38 billion spending cut.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Paul Simao)