Congress in final-stage talks on massive budget, tax bills

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WASHINGTON >> Lawmakers and the White House are rushing to finalize a $1.1 trillion government-wide spending bill and a sprawling tax package touching all sectors of the economy.

Policy disputes remain as both parties try to attach their priorities to the must-pass spending legislation. Republicans are seeking to lift the oil export ban and roll back various Obama administration regulations, while Democrats are maneuvering to protect President Barack Obama's environmental rules and enact permanent tax credits for wind, solar and other renewable energy.

Under current law, government funding expires Friday at midnight, when the last short-term spending bill expires. The Senate agreed by voice vote and without debate Thursday to extend that deadline through Wednesday Dec. 16 to allow more time for talks. The House is expected to follow suit Friday.


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