“We’re going to work very hard,” Rice said. “I promise you this. We will put out a budget that balances in 10 years or less. We will conference with the Senate. We don’t need 60 votes to do it. We will come out with a compromised budget in Congress, I’m confident of that. Now how much the president will be willing to work with us? I can’t tell you.”

Rice said some of that common ground, like infrastructure, will be handled in other committees.

“I think there are areas of common ground particularly in the infrastructure,” Rice said. “I don’t think you’ll see that in house budget. You’ll see that from House Ways and Means and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.”

On the other hand, Rice said, signature items on Obama’s budget face a slim chance of being included in a final budget.

“The additional giveaway programs the president is proposing; I don’t think they stand much chance in Congress,” Rice said. “The additional tax increases the president is proposing; I don’t think they stand much chance in Congress.”

Budget discussions began in January when Congress came back in to session. Rice said that he expects a budget to be completed by early to mid-March.

BY GAVIN JACKSON Morning Newsgjackson@florencenews.com