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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tentative Agreement Reached in Congress, Avoiding Government Shutdown


House and Senate leaders reached a tentative agreement om Tuesday that would pay for federal government operations through next March, averting the prospect of a messy government shutdown just before the November elections.

The emerging deal is a sharp contrast to previous occasions when House Republicans used the approach of a spending deadline to insist on deep spending cuts in exchange for their votes, once avoiding a shutdown by a matter of hours. But with the Oct. 1 deadline for enacting spending bills for 2012 coming so close to the election, Republicans leaders were eager to avoid a government crisis that they could be blamed for by voters at the polls.

Under the agreement that takes the spending fight off the table before the presidential and Congressional elections, lawmakers have agreed to continue the current rate of spending into early next year despite a call by some conservative Republicans for a lo wer rate. By pushing the spending into next year, the House and Senate would also eliminate it as a bargaining chip in post-election negotiations over what to do about expiring tax cuts.

While even some of the most Republicans wanted to avoid a big fight before the election, not all of them are expected to support the bill, which will come before the House and Senate after a five week recess that begins Friday.

“That is a good idea not to have that kind of discussion,” said Senator Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican, about the shutdown talk. But he added that he still would likely not support the measure.