“We’re making progress, working hard,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.).

American_ClockCongressional negotiators moved closer to a year-end spending deal Wednesday with Senate Democrats playing the role of mediator between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner — each of whom is trying to out-muscle the other going into the 2012 elections.

The giant bill, which would exceed $1 trillion when war funding is counted, must be filed in the House by Monday night to ensure floor action before Dec. 16, when the latest stopgap continuing resolution is due to expire. The odds of a deal are now better than 50-50, but the next 48 hours will be make or break since the appropriations leadership must have a framework in place by Friday to meet this schedule.

Major chapters covering the Pentagon, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs departments are already largely settled, and tentative agreements are in place for the Environmental Protection Agency and Indian Health Services budgets — two sensitive issues for Western Republicans.

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Source: David Rogers | POLITICO