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Bills in a state of flux

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By Roger Snodgrass

Hopes of bridging an appropriations impasse in Washington, D.C., took a turn for the worse Monday, deepening the budget uncertainty for federal agencies, including Los Alamos National Laboratory.A spokesman in Sen. Pete Domenici’s office said this morning that everything was in a state of flux.Domenici is the ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee that handles the Department of Energy funding.Chris Gallegos, the senator’s communications director, said the committee had been making progress, including restoring “most of what the House tried to do in terms of cuts.”The House version of the appropriations bill passed several months ago with deep cuts in the laboratory’s budget.“Last night everything hit the wall,” Gallegos said.The Associated Press and others reported Monday that House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. David Obey (D-Ill.) threatened to abandon an attempted compromise package that was originally scheduled for debate today.With 11 of 12 appropriations bills yet to be passed and time running out at the end of this week on the current stopgap funding resolution for most of the federal government, Congress and the White House remain at odds.Democratic leaders began work last week on an omnibus spending bill that provided funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without a timetable for withdrawal.


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