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2011/04/01 - U.S. House Speaker says no agreement yet on spending deal

WASHINGTON, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Republicans haven't reached an agreement with the White House on a spending bill that would avert an April 8 shut-down of the federal government, said U.S. House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday.

Boehner said lawmakers still have some way to go to reach an agreement on a top-line figure for cutting 2011 spending and remain divided over controversial items demanded by Republicans such as stop funding for healthcare reform.

"There is no agreement on a set of numbers and nothing will be agreed to until everything is agreed to," Boehner told reporters Thursday, in direct contrast to Vice President Joe Biden's Wednesday comment that Republicans, Democrats and the White House were making "good progress" on a deal to avert a government shutdown after April 8, when a stopgap measure funding the government expires.

U.S. media said Senate and House Appropriations panels are working toward a target of 33 billion in spending cuts, falling far short of the 61 billion in cuts included in a House-approved bill.

"We are going to fight for all the spending cuts that we can get," Boehner said.

The Congress sent President Barack Obama a short term funding measure on March 17, keeping the government running until April 8, and officials have been working to prevent a government shutdown ever since. Before that, the federal government was funded by stopgap bills since the beginning of the current fiscal year last October.


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