Rep. Paul Ryan said he's not sure there will be a federal budget deal by next month.
A deadline looms large for congressional leaders tasked with hammering out a federal budget deal, set to be in December. Ryan is one of the lawmakers overseeing the talks.
WISC-TV spoke to Ryan about the latest meeting taking place this week, and where negotiations stand.
"We had good meetings," said Ryan, R-Janesville. "Patty Murray, who is my Democratic counterpart in the Senate, she and I are in continual meetings and discussions. We are trying to hammer out a budget agreement and my goal is to replace what we call these crude across-the-board sequester cuts that are sort of indiscriminate. They don't judge between wasteful spending and important spending and I'd like to replace those cuts with smarter cuts in other parts of government that have been unreformed for years. That to me would be a good thing to do because it gets extra deficit reduction and help us relieve pressure off of things that we care about like basic health research or defense."
The deadline for talks is Dec. 13, and WISC-TV asked Ryan if he thought there would be an agreement by then.
"I don't know the answer to that question, I really don't, but my hope is that we will," said Ryan. "I think that deadline is a fine timeline, I'm very comfortable to work within that deadline. I just don't know if we're going to have an agreement because we don't have one at this time."
WISC-TV asked Ryan if the idea of the committee was that they must come to an agreement.
"Well, the idea of having budget negotiations is to negotiate something and to produce an outcome," said Ryan. "But as I said, we don't want an outcome we think would be worse than doing nothing.
"No, I guess is the answer to your question. It's not worth getting an agreement if it's a bad agreement for families, job creators and for the economy. Yes, if it's a good agreement to take us in the right direction to replace those crude across the board spending cuts with smarter spending cuts and deficit reduction," said Ryan.
WISC-TV asked Ryan if it was difficult to get an agreement in an atmosphere of polarization in Washington, D.C.
"It has made things more difficult, I will definitely admit to that," said Ryan. "But Patty and I have been trying to work hard with each other building some trust. we come from very different perspectives, respect each others opinions, we get along very well personally, and we're really trying to hammer out an agreement with ourselves and our colleagues. I think that would be a good thing. I think it would be nice to see that this divided government can work."
While Ryan said he didn't want tax issues to be a part of the compromise, Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, who's also on the committee said through a statement, "Both sides agree we need to replace the arbitrary sequester cuts that are costing jobs and slowing economic growth. Wisconsinites want Congress to work together and find common ground, not draw lines in the sand."
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