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Is Anyone Happy With the New Congressional Budget Deal?

Is Anyone Happy With the New Congressional Budget Deal?

It seems as though our last government shut down is barely in the rearview mirror, yet already another round of budget talks has the federal government once more on the verge. Unlike the October showdown, however, members of both parties are working diligently to come to a compromise before any services are put in jeopardy. Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan and Washington Democratic Senator Patty Murphy, both members of their own body’s Budget Committee, have brokered a deal that should leave both sides of the political aisle somewhat mollified.

The question is, will it make it through the chambers?

As is, it has at least gained the President of the United State’s cautious approval. “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,” President Barack Obama said in a statement.

According to CNN, the proposed budget would “save $85 billion while eliminating $63 billion in forced spending cuts to the military and other programs through sequestration to achieve total deficit reduction of $23 billion.” That would mean adding back many federal programs, especially those meant to help workers find jobs. What it would not include is extensions on unemployment insurance for those Americans while they are retraining and looking for that work. It also wouldn’t raise the debt ceiling, leaving that avenue open later if the GOP decides to try another hostage-taking scenario.

Having the stamp of approval from the GOP’s fiscal architect Rep. Ryan should mean that such a proposal would have smooth sailing. Instead, as we have come to expect, Tea Party extremists are already lining up to pan the compromise. Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn have already declared there is no way they can vote in favor of the budget, with Sen. Rubio decrying it as not budget cutting enough. “This budget continues Washington’s irresponsible budgeting decisions by spending more money than the government takes in and placing additional financial burdens on everyday Americans,” he said in a statement.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t like it any better, with sources in his campaign telling The Daily Caller that he would prefer to keep sequester cuts intact.

The Tea Party opposition comes on the heels of a number of conservative action groups also saying they are against any deal that Rep. Ryan and Sen. Murray may have brokered if it removes sequester budget cuts. According to Politico, Heritage Action, FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity all announced opposition to the budget, with Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, stating, “We will absolutely hold [Republicans] accountable if they break their word and go back on the sequester cuts.”

Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner was less impressed by the groups’ threats, saying at a press conference, “You mean the groups that came out opposed to it before they ever saw it?… If you’re for more deficit reduction, you’re for this agreement.”

With so much dissension among the GOP, you would think that would mean that progressives would find the budget something they could get on board with, but not everyone does. As David Dayen at Salon writes, although the sequester cuts would be reversed, federal employees would be feeling a whole different level of cuts via pension loss and pay freezes. “[A] full sequestration in 2014 would have, in all likelihood, lead to layoffs. Now, just as Congress closes in on limited relief from sequestration, workers are told they’ll have to pay for some of that relief themselves,” writes Dayen.

The House is expected to vote on the new budget by the end of the week, before their session adjourns for the holidays. The Senate will then vote the following week before their vacation begins.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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86 comments

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11:43AM PST on Dec 21, 2013

Robert H I agree the astronomical cost of the two wars will have to be paid, but it should be shared by everybody. Why are their no cuts to the $175,000 a year salaries that we pay our Congress, and our Senators? If we are going to cut retired military personal, who risked their lives in these wars that were based on lies, then we need congressional reform, and cut the $175,000 a year salaries of our corrupt politicians down to $15,000 a year. Since our Congress will not raise minimum wage, they should be paid minimum wage. Their all a bunch of crooks and liars anyway, who make millions from their corporate lobbyist.

6:55AM PST on Dec 20, 2013

Sara, We CANT run our budget the way the government runs theirs and it is IMPOSSIBLE for them to run it like ours. Stop listening to the political rhetoric. WE are fighting the longest war in our nations history. Thats costs a shitload of money and here we sit with the lowest tax rate in many decades. Get real!!!! The reason the deficit looks so bad is becasue Obama is actually outting the cost of the war in the budget. Bush HID the cost of the war so we didnt see it in the budget. For all of his presidency Bush hid the clost of the war and all during that time interest was accruing on the loans he took out to fight the war. WE cant stop the entire American economy because of that. We have things that need doing. Deal with it.

3:18AM PST on Dec 20, 2013

This is a VERY bad deal. They don't even try to balance the budget, it cuts the retirements of our brave military! If we don't CUT spending we are going to go bankrupt. If we ran our personal budgets the way they have run our country's we would have gone under a LONG time ago!

8:56PM PST on Dec 18, 2013

The fact than no one is happy means they compromised. Not like theyhad a choice really. Elections are right around the corner. They couldnt shut down the government again or they would have lost the whole house. Compromise is something we MUST do or our country is simply going to die

1:12AM PST on Dec 16, 2013

How can any agreement be made with that dirty republican crook, and liar Paul Ryan. Ryan wants to cut Medicare, Social Security, food stamps, and all programs to help the poor, so we can all starve, and die, while he makes $175,000 a year, and gets paid millions from his corporate masters.

3:16PM PST on Dec 15, 2013

Who could approve of anything this do nothing, obstructionist, hate filled Congress does other than whine, complain, obfuscate, threaten, fear monger and spread dissent all while getting paid for the privilege of 'serving the people'? They should be tried for treason and crimes against the people they were hired to serve. Shameful.

1:07AM PST on Dec 15, 2013

Yes! Anytime adults with sincerely held, differing opinions can find a compromise, however imperfect, its a reason to be happy.

10:58AM PST on Dec 14, 2013

Yep! he wealthy are still laughing a us.

11:33PM PST on Dec 13, 2013

Just more PROPAGANDA meanwhile they continue their never ending party at the expense of the HUMAN people. Anyone who believes this is the work of masterminds are deluded .. Just more of the same .. maybe we can push for term limits and Move to Amend .. Corporations are NOT PEOPLE and Money is not Free Speech and until we can take the money out of our elections we will never see any changes. The NWO needs to be stopped and we could make a lot of progress if we would kick the UN out of the United States, arrest every treasonous politician and dual citizen and try them for crimes against humanity. The Committee for Foreign Relations would be the first place to START.

Force the Committee for Presidential Debates to allow all qualified candidates to participate in their bogus debates without having to show 15% in polls that only have Dem and Rep candidates in them. We need election reform and more participation by all people. A citizen's Grand Jury is now forming so we the people can hold these criminals responsible and more contemporary voting methods including secure votes very similar to secure banking transactions and with the internet We the People are more than able to be allowed to attend discussion with regard to every issue in which we are interested. Time to bring our DEMOCRACY up to 2014 no more time to lose and not time to snooze. The only thing necessary for EVIL to prevail is for GOOD people to do NOTHING!! Wake up America! We are the Media now

10:55PM PST on Dec 13, 2013

A lot of Americans have become so insulated from reality that they
imagine America can suffer defeat without any inconvenience to
themselves.

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