Washington nears US budget deal to avoid the next government shutdown

The panel has until December 13 — this Friday — to agree a deal before the Christmas break, although the key deadline is January 15, when a temporary government spending extension agreed in October expires. If this is breached it raises the threat of a second government shutdown in four months.

But reports suggest that chief Republican negotiator Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray are “really close to a deal” which would avoid the talks going down to the wire and creating more damaging market uncertainty over the world’s biggest economy.

Crucial to the deal, however, will be steering it through Congress, where hardline Republicans refused to compromise over the budget in October before they were forced to back down amid mounting public anger over the shutdown.