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Budget resolution 'a major accomplishment,' negotiators say

  • Story Highlights
  • House and Senate Dems say President Obama's goals addressed in resolution
  • Democratic leaders urge pay-as-you-go system that Obama has emphasized
  • Senate and House are each expected to vote on the budget resolution this week
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- House and Senate Democrats reached agreement late Monday on a budget resolution for 2010, which includes key spending priorities for the young Obama administration.

The Senate and House could vote on the budget resolution Tuesday. President Obama's budget request is $3.67 trillion.

The Senate and House could vote on the budget resolution Tuesday. President Obama's budget request is $3.67 trillion.

"This budget is a major accomplishment," Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad said in a statement. "We are meeting President Obama's goals of reducing our dependence on foreign energy, striving for excellence in education, reforming our health care system, and providing middle-class tax relief."

The agreement came as lawmakers were reconciling the House and Senate versions of the budget package. The president's budget request is $3.67 trillion.

The full Senate and House are each expected to vote on the fiscal 2010 budget resolution this week. The House vote could come as soon as Tuesday.

Budget negotiators have fast-tracked part of the budget process. Major health reform is likely to pass this year, because the special process -- known as budget reconciliation -- won't allow Republicans to filibuster the legislation, as was widely expected.

Democrats, who currently control 58 seats in the Senate, will be able to pass it with a simple majority vote, instead of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.

Separately, conservative Democrats in the House, who have been pushing for a strong statement from leadership on fiscal responsibility in the budget, may have some of their concerns addressed.

A Democratic aide told CNN that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer are drafting a letter to Senate leaders "throwing down the gauntlet" to insist that a pay-as-you-go system be followed, which would require new federal spending to be offset with budget cuts or tax increases.

President Barack Obama called for the so-called "PAYGO" legislation in his weekend radio address.

The budget resolution would limit increases in non-defense discretionary spending to 2.9 percent through 2014, according to Conrad.

"While the budget resolution takes important steps in the near-term of cutting the deficit in half by 2012 and by two-thirds by 2014, it is clear that more will be needed to address the long-term fiscal imbalance confronting the nation beyond the five-year budget window," said Conrad.

President Obama gathered his Cabinet members last week and challenged them to cut a total of $100 million in the next 90 days.

In the context of the federal budget, $100 million in savings is a tiny amount, critics said. It is the equivalent, according to one example, of having a car dealer offer to shave $1 from the cost of a $36,700 vehicle.

"Any amount of savings is obviously welcome," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said at the time. "But ($100 million is) about the average amount we'll spend every single day just covering the interest on the stimulus package that we passed earlier this year."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said ordinary Americans would nevertheless appreciate the savings effort.

"Only in Washington, D.C., is $100 million dollars not a lot of money. It is where I'm from. It is where I grew up. And I think it is for hundreds of millions of Americans."

CNN's Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

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