WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. budget negotiators said on Wednesday they were still far from an agreement and put off scheduling any other public meetings as talks to ease automatic spending cuts moved behind closed doors.
The 29-member congressional negotiating committee trying to set spending levels for fiscal 2014 has largely ceded negotiating authority to its top Republican, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and its Democratic leader, Senator Patty Murray from Washington state.
Some of the major proposals floated by lawmakers and the Obama administration to reduce the pay and retirement benefits of federal employees and service members would save the government at least $265 billion over the next decade, according to a new analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
CBO detailed 103 policy options for decreasing government spending and increasing revenue over the next decade in a 305-page report released on Wednesday, including several that would affect the pay, benefits and size of the federal civilian and military workforce. The office does not make policy recommendations; it provides cost estimates of legislation and federal spending projections and analyses. The latest comprehensive report on options for reducing the deficit looks at possibilities for savings across a range of areas, including defense, health care, Social Security, taxes and veterans’ benefits, as well as federal employment.