Congressional leaders eyeing two-year caps deal up to $200 billion

Congressional leaders eyeing two-year caps deal up to $200 billion
© Greg Nash

Congressional leaders are eyeing a deal to raise budgetary caps by as much as $200 billion over two years.

A deal on budgetary caps will be a first step toward hammering out a spending deal for 2018.

Congressional sources tell The Hill that there is still work to do before a deal can be finalized. Democrats are clamoring to raise nondefense spending caps by the same level as defense caps.

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This week, Congress approved a defense authorization package that's $77 billion higher than the 2018 budget cap.

Government funding is set to expire on Dec. 8, and Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) has indicated that he expects a short-term continuing resolution to extend funding to the end of the year. Without a spending deal or an extension, the government would shut down.

But current spending levels are higher than the 2018 caps set by the 2011 Budget Control Act. Without a deal to raise the caps, continuing spending at current levels would trigger sequestration, or across-the-board spending cuts, starting in late January.

While there has been progress in talks between the White House and the so-called four corners — Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Abortion-rights group endorses Nadler in race to replace Conyers on Judiciary Trump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmerica isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger MORE (D-N.Y.) — no final agreement has yet been reached.

Meanwhile, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranObstruction of justice watch: Trump attacks the FBI America isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash The Hill's Whip List: Where Republicans stand on Senate tax bill MORE (R-Miss.) said Thursday that he would release a chairman's mark of the four appropriations bill the committee has still not taken up.

“A budget agreement is necessary for the Senate to approve responsible appropriations legislation. I urge all parties to those negotiations to redouble their efforts to reach agreement,” he said in a written statement.