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‘Budget Conference’ Meets, Hopes to Avert Another Stalemate

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A group of lawmakers tasked with hammering out a long-term budget deal met for the first time Wednesday, working under the prosaic name, the “budget conference.”

Wednesday’s meeting of the 29 lawmakers -- 15 Democrats and 14 Republicans -- was a rarity on Capitol Hill as the Senate and House of Representatives have not gone to conference on the budget in years.  The meeting didn’t produce any agreements or concessions, but gave the group an opportunity to voice what direction they hope the conference will take as they try to prevent another fiscal crisis.

“The bar is pretty low right now. Let’s see if we can clear it,” said Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee. “We’ll restore confidence in our economy if we do that.”

“We’ve got our work cut out for us.  It’s not going to be easy,” he said.

“I believe that this bipartisan budget conference offers us the opportunity to rebuild some trust, find a path to compromise, and work together to create jobs and boost our fragile economy,” said Sen. Patty Murray, chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee. “It won’t be easy. It will require both sides to step out of their comfort zone and ideological corners, and we won’t be able to tackle every one of our nation’s challenges in these few short weeks.”

Ryan announced the group will meet again on Nov. 13.

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