WASHINGTON (AP) -- House and Senate budget negotiators say they're not close to an agreement but plan to keep at it.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan says "we're trying to find common ground but we're not there yet."
The Wisconsin Republican convened a public meeting of negotiators, but the session was devoted to speechmaking and hearing testimony from Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf rather than actual negotiation.
Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the top negotiator for Democrats, said she's "very encouraged" by her conversations with Ryan and is "hopeful we will get to a bipartisan compromise very soon."
The talks are centered on finding ways to cut spending and special interest tax breaks to replace automatic across-the-board spending cuts that are slamming the Pentagon and domestic agencies.