BY ANDREW TAYLOR AND ERICA WERNER
WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker John Boehner is trying to make one last deal as he heads for the exits, pushing to finalize a far-reaching, two-year budget agreement before handing Congress’ top job over to Paul Ryan this week, congressional officials said Monday.
The deal, in concert with a must-pass increase in the federal borrowing limit, would solve the thorniest issues awaiting Ryan, who is set to be elected speaker on Thursday. It would also take budget showdowns and government shutdown fights off the table until after the 2016 presidential election, a potential boon to Republican candidates who might otherwise face uncomfortable questions about messes in the GOP-led Congress.
Congress must raise the federal borrowing limit by Nov. 3 or risk a first-ever default, while money to pay for government operations runs out Dec. 11 unless Congress acts. Top House and Senate aides have been meeting with White House officials in search of a deal that would give both the Pentagon and domestic agencies budget relief in exchange for cuts elsewhere in the budget.
The measure under discussion would suspend the current $18.1 trillion debt limit through March 2017. After that it would be reset by the Treasury Department to reflect borrowing over that time.