Progress seen on debt, spending talks

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WASHINGTON (AP) – The top Republican in the House says congressional negotiators are making progress on two must-do items on the legislative agenda: averting automatic budget cuts and meeting a deadline later this year to increase the government’s borrowing limit.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said “we’re making progress” as he rushed out of a two-hour session exploring a potential agreement to increase spending “caps” that threaten to hit the Pentagon and other federal agencies with budget cuts averaging 10 percent.

It was the first meeting of top administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, with the top four leaders of Congress on the topics. They are returning for a second session later Tuesday.

Efforts to raise the spending caps and government’s borrowing limit are often linked together to move them through Congress.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leaves a meeting with top congressional leaders, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on a potential deal to raise the budget caps, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Mnuchin said they will be coming back for more talks later in the afternoon. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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