Democrats, Republicans race to strike year-end tax and spending deal

Democrats want to expand a tax credit that aids low-income families. Republicans hope to preserve a set of tax breaks that benefits businesses. And both parties hope to prevent a federal government shutdown.

Put the pieces together and Congress should have the ingredients for an easy year-end legislative deal. But in a Capitol where nothing has been simple recently — and partisan tensions still run high — there’s a growing fear that even the politically achievable is going to be anything but.

The clock is ticking on lawmakers, who find themselves Thursday in a familiar race to address a slew of fast-approaching fiscal deadlines. Their chief task is to adopt a new spending measure before Dec. 16, otherwise Washington is set to run out of money, bringing federal agencies, programs and services to an undesirable halt.
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