U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is lit on the West Front December 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. The second tallest tree ever used at the Capitol, the 88-foot Engelmann spruce is from the Colville National Forest in Washington state (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (AP) - Bipartisan budget negotiators are working toward a modest budget agreement to replace tens of billions of dollars in spending cuts this year and next with longer-term savings and revenue from increased fees.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate counterpart Patty Murray are hopeful of striking an agreement as early as Tuesday afternoon.
The Wisconsin Republican and Washington Democrat have been holding secretive talks for weeks aimed at producing an accord to replace some, but not all, of the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration. Budget experts briefed on the talks predict that any bargain may replace $40 billion - about half of the cuts for the 2014 fiscal year - and a lesser amount for 2015.