- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Two of the lawmakers who have been deeply involved in bipartisan efforts aimed at reducing annual deficits said Tuesday that they do not expect a government shutdown this year.

Speaking at the National Press Club, Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat, agreed that the two-year budget that Congress passed late last year diminishes the chances of a shutdown.

“I think it is very likely we will not have any kind of a government shutdown,” Mr. Portman, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said.

Mr. Portman said last year’s budget deal did not do enough to tackle the rising costs of entitlement spending, but did buy Congress some time to move to modernize the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs.

“I think early next calendar year, we have to deal with these issues,” Mr. Portman said.

Congress could get the ball rolling this year by agreeing to go along with a proposal in President Obama’s budget that calls for the means testing of Medicare, he said.

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