Well surprise, surprise. Congressional leaders were able to compromise and put pen to paper on a two-year federal budget, postponing the cycle of brinksmanship on spending negotiations that led to the October government shutdown. The deadline for a budget is December 13. The previous deal ends on January 15.
With this deal, federal spending for fiscal year 2014 will be $1.012 trillion; for 2015, it’ll be $1.014 trillion. “The agreement replaces $63 billion in sequester cuts with a combination of other savings, and includes an additional $22.5 billion in deficit reduction,” reports USA Today. It still needs to go to a vote, but it’s a first step.
Conservative groups are already grumbling that the budget exceeds the $967 billion that they would prefer. But the Republicans would be best advised to come to the table with compromise on their minds. In the eyes of the voting public, they were overwhelmingly to blame for the government shutdown. And the media has been crowing about this do-nothing Congress, which has been declared the least productive in the history of this country, passing only 55 bills. The GOP doesn’t need the stain of once again being unable to come to an agreement over something this important.
Perhaps with that in mind Rep. John Boehner, the Speaker of the House from Ohio is telling conservative opposition groups to chill out. “They’re using our members and they’re using the American people for their own goals. This is ridiculous,” he said. Thumbs up for once!
And besides, Democrats didn’t get everything they want either. Not included in the final budget is an extension of unemployment benefits. Despite the positive jobs report released last week, there are still 1.3 million Americans out of work for the long term who depend on those benefits to make ends meet. We just recently had 23,000 people applying for 600 jobs at Walmart, so there’s a desperate population eager to take on work… any kind of work.
Politically, The New York Times says putting the budget issue to rest will give Republicans the opportunity to continue bashing the healthcare law. Moreover, you have a number of Congresspeople, including Rep. Ryan, who have to keep an eye on their prospective presidential runs in 2016.
Business Insider uses charts and graphs to illustrate why this extension is needed. USAT doubts that anything will get passed before the current extension expires, however.
Military spending will be increasing by $63 billion, which will be offset in part by higher airline fees.