I just watched the press statements from Paul Ryan and Patty Murray.
The details are being described all around as “modest” and a time out. The key is that nothing much was accomplished as to the overall budget trajectory. There also was “sequester relief,” meaning that one of the only things restraining spending was weakened (Ryan justified that by saying that new sequester cuts were mostly from the military).
While there are no “new taxes,” beleaguered airline passengers will see new ticket fees. But it’s not a tax!
Most of the MSM headlines are predictable — Congress is working again!
NBC summarizes the “deal” as follows:
The deal won quick praise from House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio, the Republican speaker whose dogged budget negotiation strategies had contributed to a government shutdown in October.
“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,” Boehner said in a statement.
The framework would set spending levels above the $967 billion cap established by the sequester; the budget for 2014 would be set at $1.012 trillion, and the budget for 2015 would be $1.014 trillion. Appropriators will be charged with detailing the particular spending within those limits.
The increased spending was financed in part through $85 billion in reforms and “non-tax revenue,” while also providing $63 billion in sequester relief split between military and non-military spending. Ryan said the proposal would reduce the deficit by $23 billion without raising taxes.
Though the tentative agreement falls far short of a “grand bargain” that solves overarching fiscal issues through a combination of new taxes and entitlement reforms, the agreement would offer some stability to government funding after several years of governing characterized by stopgap spending measures.
The deal also leaves some key elements facing Congress unsolved. Continued unemployment benefits, which Democrats want to authorize before the end of the year, are not part of the agreement. One idea under discussion, per a senior Senate Democratic aide, is agreeing to hold a separate vote on unemployment insurance this week.
Ryan and Murray shuttled back and forth between meetings with each other and their respective parties’ leadership throughout the day on Wednesday. Each said their leadership was supportive of the agreement, which helped facilitate the successful negotiations.
Pres Obama on budget deal: "It’s balanced, and includes targeted fee increases and spending cuts…"
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) December 10, 2013
Budget agreement reduces deficit w/o raising taxes, makes smarter spending cuts, protects nat’l security http://t.co/RbdFHV1uZE
— John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) December 10, 2013
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.