- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 25, 2018

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa House has begun chipping away at the series of spending bills that will make up the next state budget.

The Republican-controlled chamber voted 57-36 Wednesday to approve legislation to fund agriculture and natural resources. That followed a unanimous vote to pay for transportation services.

The GOP-led Senate must also OK the bills. Preliminary votes could come as soon as Thursday.

Republicans have been negotiating behind closed doors to reach a broader agreement on a roughly $7.49 billion budget set to begin in July. They want the deal to include tax cuts.

The $380 million bill funding the Department of Transportation maintains overall staffing levels. The $129 million bill funding the agriculture and natural resources departments restores staffing levels to where they were before mid-year cuts.

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