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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 RyanSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP GOP group makes late play in Iowa seat once seen as lost Adelsons donated M in September to help GOP in midterms 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 McConnellGraham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' MORE (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiElection Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach GOP strategist says Trump could want border wall fight to continue to excite base McConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers Senate Dems race to save Menendez in deep-blue New Jersey MORE (D-N.Y.) — no final agreement has yet been reached.

Meanwhile, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranThe Hill's Morning Report — Kavanaugh ordeal thrusts FBI into new political jam GOP Senate candidate to African Americans: Stop begging for 'government scraps' Trump endorses Hyde-Smith in Mississippi Senate race 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.