Top White House and congressional negotiators failed to reach agreement Tuesday on a spending plan for the rest of the current fiscal year, bringing the federal government closer to a shutdown at the end of the week. Key Democrats rejected a Republican proposal to keep the government running for one more week at the cost of an additional $12 billion in cuts. Republicans, meanwhile, dismissed Democrats' insistence that there had been an agreement to cut $33 billion for the rest of the fiscal year. If there is no deal by midnight Friday, when the current spending authorization measure expires, parts of the government will close down.
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