Schumer: Momentum builds for deal on deficit

Democrats and Republicans are edging closer to a long-term deal to close the budget deficit, Sen. Charles Schumer insisted Friday.

While the two sides are struggling to reach a compromise on funding the government for this year, Schumer (D-N.Y.) said leaders from both parties are continuing to negotiate, and that momentum is building for a long-term deal.

“As for the grander bargain down the road, I think it's gaining momentum, actually,” Schumer said. “I'm feeling better about it than I was. There is a real desire by both Democrats and Republicans to get a handle on the deficit.”

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Schumer said he could foresee both sides compromising on cutting a certain amount of spending. 

But it is unclear how House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House can reach compromises on tax rates and entitlement reforms.

President Obama wants to raise tax rates on wealthier taxpayers that were reduced in the last decade by President George W. Bush and a Republican Congress.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, has promised that his 2012 budget will propose changes to entitlements, which have been resisted by many Democrats.

In the meantime, Congress faces an April 8 deadline to move a spending measure to fund the government for the rest of this year. Without at least a new short-term measure by that date, the government would shut down.

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