Inouye, who described discussions as ongoing, noted that the
House took a month to come up with its seven-month spending bill and said the Senate
should have equal time to come up with an alternative, in conjunction with the
White House.

“I am happy to say both sides have cool heads,” he said.

The House is preparing to vote on a two-week spending
measure Tuesday afternoon. The House and Senate need to approve a funding measure
by Friday to prevent a government shutdown.

Inouye’s staff is working to craft a Senate alternative to
the seven-month continuing resolution that passed the House last month.

That House bill would cut $61 billion in funding for the
current fiscal year. Inouye’s staff is combing the 2012 Obama budget request
for acceptable cuts that could total $33 billion.

Inouye indicated work has been moving slowly, and said he
wants to see more involvement from the White House in the effort to craft an
alternative to the GOP spending proposal.

“I hope we can work much closer than we have now,” he said.

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