Federal budget deal reached, USA

A bipartisan federal budget deal has been reached and announced in the US Congress. If voted through it could mean the end of three years of deadlock and fiscal instability in Washington.

The proposal aims for an annual discretionary spending target increase to $1.012 trillion in 2014, and $1.014 trillion in 2015.

The budget deal was announced by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee chairman Patty Murray (D-WA).

Chairman Murray said:

“This agreement breaks through the recent dysfunction to prevent another government shutdown and roll back sequestration’s cuts to defense and domestic investments in a balanced way.”

”It’s a good step in the right direction that can hopefully rebuild some trust and serve as a foundation for continued bipartisan work.”

The budget deal puts forward funds for the US government for 24 months and cuts the federal deficit by $23 billion, and more importantly for the immediate future, prevents another partial government shutdown on January 15, 2014.

Budget deal moves ball in right direction

In an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News, Congressman Paul Ryan said:

”It’s a deal that moves the ball in the right direction. It cuts the deficit without raising taxes by cutting spending in smarter ways than the across-the-board approach. All of our members were worried about all the defense cuts.

We are stopping the military from getting cutting further and we are cutting spending in smarter ways on auto pilot programs that have been untouched for years by Congress. And we’re doing it in a way to make sure that there is no tax increases and that we actually lower the deficit versus doing nothing.”

A good first step

President Barack Obama wrote in a statement that the deal is a “good first step,” and added:

“This agreement doesn’t include everything I’d like – and I know many Republicans feel the same way. That’s the nature of compromise. But it’s a good sign that Democrats and Republicans in Congress were able to come together and break the cycle of short-sighted, crisis-driven decision-making to get this done.”

The budget deal offsets $63 billion in military and domestic spending cuts which resulted from a Democrat-Republican failure to come to a compromise in January.

The deal also includes an additional $5 in airport security fees on round-trip flights.

The Democrats had sought an extension of long-term jobless benefits. This was not included in the budget deal.

The deal will come to a vote before the House on Friday, December 13, just before its recess.

While modest in scale, a good step forward

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the following statement:

“I am grateful for the work done by Chairmen Ryan and Murray. While modest in scale, this agreement represents a positive step forward by replacing one-time spending cuts with permanent reforms to mandatory spending programs that will produce real, lasting savings.

This framework is consistent with sequester replacement legislation passed by the House in 2012. It would also help to further reduce the deficit without tax hikes that would hurt our economy. Lastly, this agreement would help protect important national security priorities.”

“Federal spending remains on an unsustainable course. Whether it is offering a plan to balance the budget, strengthen the federal safety net, or cut wasteful spending on behalf of hardworking taxpayers, only one party has led efforts to bring fiscal sanity back to Washington. Republicans will continue to lead that effort because it is essential to growing our economy, expanding opportunity for all Americans, and preserving the American Dream.”

Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity, as well as some other conservative groups rejected the budget deal even before they had a chance to look at it, much to the annoyance of House Speaker John Boehner.

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