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First budget talks set for Thursday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The opening round of White House-led negotiations aimed at crafting a bipartisan deal to fund the government for the rest of this fiscal year will be held at 4 p.m. on Thursday on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democratic aides said. Read the full story.
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GOP wins first budget battle, but long, bitter war remains

Republicans won an early round Wednesday in their fight to shrink the government, pushing $4 billion in spending cuts through Congress in a bill that puts off the possibility of a government shutdown for two weeks. Largely a spectator so far, President Barack Obama dispatched his vice president to initiate negotiations on a broader, longer-term spending bill and find “common ground” with GOP leaders determined to cut tens of billions of dollars more and undo much of his agenda. He conceded in advance that any deal on a government budget covering the next seven months will feature cuts, not just
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Why the White House is tempering its stance on Libya

  The Obama administration is tempering its tough talk on Libya with a dose of reality, explaining that even a no-fly zone over the country would require a military attack on Moammar Gadhafi‘s regime. The Pentagon made it clear that it didn’t want war. Statements Wednesday by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton illustrated the administration’s effort to rein in “loose talk” about military options to force Gadhafi from power. It was an acknowledgement that, short of an unlikely military offensive by a U.S.-led coalition, the options for international action to stem the violence appeared
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Bernanke: GOP budget cuts would cost 200,000 jobs

Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday a Republican spending cut plan would not cause a big dent to U.S. economic growth, but could cost around 200,000 jobs over two years. That estimate is at odds with losses of as much as 700,000 cited by Democrats but also clashes with forecasts of job gains Republicans have pointed to. Bernanke said that a $60 billion cut along the lines being pursued by Republicans in the House of Representatives would likely trim growth by around two-tenths of a percentage point in the first year and one-tenth in the next year. “That would translate
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