Senate and House Democrats said Tuesday that they had reached a tentative agreement on a budget blueprint that embodies their priorities and sets spending levels somewhat higher than President Bush had requested, says The New York Times. Senator Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said the measure could be approved by both houses next week. The blueprint would bring the federal budget into balance in 2012 and keep it in balance in 2013. The agreement rejects Mr. Bush’s effort to squeeze major savings out of health programs. The president estimated that his legislative proposals would have saved $178 billion in Medicare and $17 billion in Medicaid in the next five years.

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