Cuts are coming. Can Pelosi and McConnell make a deal?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, Washington’s odd couple, have a limited set of mutual legislative interests in a capital beset by dysfunction and awash in presidential politics.
But automatic spending cuts, the legacy of a budget breakdown eight years ago, are bringing the power duo together to see if a deal can be made.
At stake are tens of billions of dollars for military and domestic programs, money that brings together a broad spectrum of lawmakers, including pragmatists hoping to see the Capitol function.
There is plenty of time to reach agreement, but failure could usher in spending cuts of $125 billion next year, a 10 percent drop from current levels. Looming over it all is the record 35-day partial government shutdown earlier this year, still a fresh memory and a disruption no one wants to repeat.