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Spending fight: Back to the bargaining table

Lawmakers are returning to the bargaining table in search of a fiscal plan that cuts government spending but still carries political risks.

Lawmakers are returning to the bargaining table in search of a fiscal plan that cuts government spending but still carries political risks.

The balance is particularly delicate for senators up for re-election next year. In a pair of votes Wednesday, senators sank a slashing budget proposal passed by the Republican-controlled House but also killed a less onerous alternative favored by most Democrats.

The two versions were nearly $50 billion apart on how much spending should be cut over the next seven months. Neither measure stood a chance of passing. Senate Democrats brought them up to cancel each other out and move forward with negotiations on a compromise.

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