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 RyanHead of top hedge fund association to step down Romney knocks Trump over McCain criticism Paul Ryan joins board of Fox Corporation 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 McConnellTrump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral GOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' McConnell calls McCain a 'rare patriot' and 'American hero' after Trump criticism MORE (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiRisk-averse Republicans are failing the republic The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Dems put manufacturing sector in 2020 spotlight Trump, Saturday Night Live and why autocrats can't take a joke MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar Why we need to build gateway now MORE (D-N.Y.) — no final agreement has yet been reached.

Meanwhile, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranTop 5 races to watch in 2019 Bottom Line Races Dems narrowly lost show party needs to return to Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy 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.