Deal needed to avoid spending train wreck

By Steven R. Hurst

Associated Press

Published: Monday, April 4 2011 1:50 a.m. MDT

House Republicans included provisions in their $61 billion package of spending cuts that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing regulations on a variety of industries that would cut emissions of climate changing greenhouse gases.

"Neither the White House or the Senate leaders is going to accept any EPA riders," he said in a conference call with reporters.

The spending conflict also is playing out under the shadow of the upcoming requirement for Congress to vote on increasing the amount of money the government can borrow. Democrats cannot increase the debt ceiling without Republican support in both the Senate and House. The Treasury Department estimates the government will hit the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling sometime between April 15 and May 31. The administration has warned Congress that failing to raise the debt limit would lead to an unprecedented default on the national debt.

This pivotal week will test congressional abilities to compromise on a plan that moves some distance toward reducing deficit spending. Republicans warn the practice is leading toward the decline of American power and influence, and Democrats argue that cuts cannot be too Draconian in the face of a weak economic recovery and the needs of middle- and lower-income Americans.

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