Lawmakers working to craft a compromise on the U.S. budget are close to a deal that would soften the blow of sequestration cuts, though whether the full Congress would pass such a measure is uncertain. Talks on the budget panel are "making progress, moving in the right direction," said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. "They haven't closed a deal." The compromise being discussed would keep the sequester in place but would scale it back for a couple of years.

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