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Obama, Senate Democrats Talk Budget at Retreat

“I’d rather have a long-term [plan], I am tired of this cliff-hopping that we have been doing on Capitol Hill,” Durbin said. “I think the president feels the same way. But he’s trying to buy some time to get through March. March is a rocky month for us with the sequestration followed by the CR.”

The continuing resolution, or CR, is a stopgap measure that funds the federal government and is set to expire March 27. If Congress fails to replace it or extend it, the government will shut down.

Durbin echoed the president’s call for a plan that includes revenue and cuts.

“I think there ought to be a balanced approach, thoughtful spending cuts, and, as the president has said so often, don’t short-change the investments in our future,” he said.

Meanwhile, Durbin also noted that he hopes that Congress can pass a postal reform bill. The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday that it plans to stop Saturday delivery by August.

“I am anxious to see the reaction in Illinois.” Durbin said. “It has its critics, but its supporters as well.”

The Postal Service had a deficit of $16 billion last fiscal year.

“There are ways we can override their decision, with riders on appropriations bills for example, but I’d prefer a postal reform bill like we did last year,” Durbin said.

He also said he doesn’t expect a filibuster of former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to be secretary of Defense.

“I don’t believe it will be,” Durbin said when asked. “I’ve spoken to some key Republican senators who said that they wouldn’t do that. I am glad to hear that. I think that is a dangerous precedent to do that.”

He also believes that John Brennan is on track to be confirmed as CIA director.

“I haven’t followed that as closely,” Durbin said, adding, “I have met with him; I’m impressed with him.

“Some of the things he’s told me he’s already stated publicly about having established public standards for some of these important decisions to be made by the intelligence community,” Durbin continued. “That I think meets our obligation as the legislative branch to represent the legislative branch in making these decisions.

His comments contrast with those of Sen. Ron Wyden , D-Ore., who said earlier today that he intends to “pull out all the stops” in his effort to get legal analysis for targeted killings of U.S. citizens suspected of being terrorists.

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