WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator Barbara Mikulski, who heads the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, on Tuesday expressed optimism that private negotiations in Congress have produced a tentative budget deal.
"I am cautiously optimistic that we have a deal," Mikulski, a Democrat, told reporters. Her panel would be tasked with carrying out any budget accord.
Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Republican Representative Paul Ryan have been holding private negotiations aimed at producing a two-year budget deal that would avoid a government shutdown on January 15, when existing federal agency funds expire.
(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by James Dalgleish)