Senator Donnelly Hopeful Budget Deficit Gap Can Close

By Corinne Rose

March 7, 2013 Updated Mar 8, 2013 at 9:45 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) -- The federal budget crisis now shifts to the Senate, after the Republican-led House passed a measure to keep the government running.

Senator Joe Donnelly lauded President Obama's dinner with 11 Republican senators Wednesday night in an effort to find some middle ground for a budget.

Donnelly says he hopes a budget plan will be in place by the end of the month.

He intends to fight for benefits like meals at schools and head start programs. But he says one way to reduce spending is to form a sunset commission, which would require programs up for renewal to justify how they allocate resources.

Donnelly says a 2011 study found so many agencies duplicate services that eliminating just those in the study would save $100 billion.

"When we have a commission in place that says, look, there's no need for this, this is being done by one or two other agencies, we can make significant savings," Donnelly says.

The sunset commission is something Donnelly hopes to get passed this year or next as a way to help slash duplicate spending on programs.

As for the upcoming budget crunch, he says he recently met with a bi-partisan group of colleagues to brainstorm ways to close the budget deficit gap.

He hopes those ideas will be brought to the table as the Senate considers the House's version of the budget.

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