Bipartisan negotiators reach modest budget pact

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers with no taste for another government shutdown are proposing a budget agreement that would restore about $63 billion in automatic spending cuts.

The increased spending in the bipartisan deal would be offset by a variety of spending reductions and higher fees elsewhere in the budget. Federal civilian and military workers, airline travelers and health care providers who treat Medicare patients would bear much of the cost.

Democrats failed in their bid to include an extension of benefits for workers unemployed longer than 26 weeks. The program expires on Dec. 28, when payments will be cut off for an estimated 1.3 million individuals. Some Republican conservatives oppose the compromise.

Still, bipartisan approval is expected in both houses in the next several days. The White House issued a statement from President Barack Obama praising the deal as a "good first step."

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