Ryan and Murray announce budget deal
posted at 10:01 pm on December 10, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham
—Brokered by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray, it’s an attempt to get back to some kind of normal order budget process
—Two-year deal, would avert government shut-down Jan. 15 but not deal with debt limit
—Spares $63 billion in sequestration cuts scheduled for January
—Allows overall projected spending to go up from $967 billion to a little over $1 trillion
—$23 billion in net deficit reduction
The “sequestration relief,” which America is not clamoring for is brought to you by raising “fees,” which is pretty much just another word for taxes:
But higher fees would generate as much as $65 billion to replace the unpopular cuts in military and domestic spending mandated under the budget-trimming sequester. Those cuts are set to take effect in mid-January.
Details of the fee hikes remain under wraps, but lawmakers have considered increasing fees on airline tickets and new mortgages, raising insurance premiums for pension funds and requiring federal civilian employees to contribute more toward their retirement.
A new budget deal that will be debated by the U.S. Congress in the coming days would trim some military spending as well as outlays for federal workers’ retirement programs, Senate Budget Committee chief Patty Murray said on Tuesday.
The deal would cut $12 billion from the two accounts, the Democratic senator said.
“This bill reduces the deficit by $23 billion, it does not raise taxes, and it cuts spending in a smarter way,” Ryan said at Tuesday night press conference. “I see this agreement as a step in the right direction.”
“I’m proud of this agreement,” Ryan added. “It reduces the deficit—without raising taxes. And it cuts spending in a smarter way. It’s a firm step in the right direction, and I ask all my colleagues in the House to support it.”
“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,” said Murray. “It’s a good step in the right direction that can hopefully rebuild some trust and serve as a foundation for continued bipartisan work.”
They’re both hailing it as a starting point. Conservatives are wary of fee hikes and erasing sequestration. Democrats are wary of any bill that requires anyone to pitch in more for their pensions and doesn’t include an extension of unemployment benefits (right now, this does not).
“This agreement doesn’t include everything I’d like – and I know many Republicans feel the same way. That’s the nature of compromise,” Obama said. “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.”
Party leaders on both sides of the Capitol, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) also issued statements backing the deal.
“Heritage Action cannot support a budget deal that would increase spending in the near-term for promises of woefully inadequate long-term reductions,” the organization said in a statement.
“While imperfect, the sequester has proven to be an effective tool in forcing Congress to reduce discretionary spending, and a gimmicky, spend-now-cut-later deal will take our nation in the wrong direction.”
Americans for Prosperity, which supports cutting taxes and government spending, called on congressional Republicans to “stand firm” in upholding a second round of across-the-board automatic spending cuts, which are scheduled to start in January.
“Otherwise, congressional Republicans are joining liberal Democrats in breaking their word to the American people to finally begin reining in government over-spending that has left us over $17 trillion in debt,” said AFP President Tim Phillips.
I’m with those House conservatives who wonder why we’re doing away with sequestration, which while not an ideal way to make cuts, is already law, and actually cut spending in a way none of these deals ever do. We’re in the minority, but that was already on the books. It didn’t need to be negotiated.