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Senate moves closer to budget deal

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Albany/HV: Senate moves closer to budget deal
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The Senate moved closer Tuesday to passing a bipartisan budget deal. As our Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Michael Scotto reports, a vote on final passage is likely by Wednesday.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After a year of bruising fiscal battles, it's looking increasingly likely that lawmakers will leave town with a ceasefire in hand.

On Tuesday, the bipartisan budget deal approved by the House last week cleared a major procedural hurdle in the Senate. The agreement eases automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, by raising fees and making federal workers and members of the military contribute more to their pensions.

"Democrats and many Republicans believe it makes sense to replace these meat ax cuts with smarter and more balanced savings," said Washington Senator Patty Murray.

While the deal is a sign of progress in the gridlocked capitol, it is hardly beloved by members of either party.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is a yes vote, but said, "We have a lot more work to do and that starts with extending unemployment insurance for the thousands of New Yorkers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.”

Meanwhile, some Republicans plan to vote no, arguing the deal is promised deficit reductions may never materialize.

"We're going to be in a couple of years back on a deficit-growth pattern that's going to be very serious and will threaten the financial future of America," said Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.

As a result, some Republicans are even threatening to push for additional savings next year as a condition for raising the nation's debt ceiling.

The Obama Administration has said it will not negotiate over paying the nation's bills. And given how poorly Republicans fared during this fall's fiscal showdown, it's unclear if they will want to risk sparking fiscal calamity during an election year.

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