Budget conference likely to meet Oct. 30

The new House-Senate budget conference is expected to meet for the first time on Oct. 30. 

With the Senate out this week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Pelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayPlaintiff and defendant from Obergefell v. Hodges unite to oppose Barrett's confirmation Overnight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas Government watchdog to investigate allegations of Trump interference at CDC, FDA MORE (D-Wash.) are quietly preparing the groundwork for talks that will begin next week. 


Sources said members and staff from both the House and Senate Budget committees have been in contact with each other since Ryan and Murray held a breakfast meeting the day after a deal was made that raised the debt ceiling, ended the shutdown and formed the new conference. 

Ryan, Murray and the other conference members are expected to tackle entitlement and tax reform and spending cuts, though there is pessimism that the sides will be able to reach an agreement after the failure of similar groups. 

It's not clear what specifics Ryan and Murray have talked about so far, although the real horse-trading isn't expected to begin until the conference meets for the first time.

Ryan, Murray and Senate ranking member Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBiden fact checks Trump on 545 families separated at border, calls policy 'criminal' Harris walks fine line on Barrett as election nears The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump's erratic tweets upend stimulus talks; COVID-19 spreads in White House MORE (R-Ala.) and House ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) planned to hold an organizing conference call on Wednesday.

The conference is charged with coming to an agreement by Dec. 13 and a key aim will be finding a top-line discretionary spending level for fiscal 2014, which began on Oct. 1. So far the House and Senate are $91 billion apart on their preferred top-line numbers. 

The government, which re-opened last Thursday after a 16-day shutdown, is now operating under a $987 billion top-line budget. Fifteen days after Congress adjourns, the spending level will be cut by another round of sequestration to $968 billion. 

Funding runs out on Jan. 15 and appropriators hope that a budget agreement will give them enough time to pass a giant omnibus spending bill by that time. 

The budget conference could also produce a wider deficit agreement that eases passage of another increase in the debt ceiling by Feb. 7.  

To achieve this, both sides must move off from very different starting positions, however: the Senate budget contains nearly $1 trillion in tax hikes and spending increases, while the House budget would balance it in 10 years by cutting $5.7 trillion in spending. 

—This report was updated at 3:40 p.m.