“Earlier this year, I called on Congress to work together on a balanced approach to a budget that grows our economy faster and creates more jobs – not through aimless, reckless spending cuts that harm our economy now, but by making sure we can afford to invest in the things that have always grown our economy and strengthened our middle class,” President Barack Obama said in a statement on December 10.
The budget journey has been a long and embattled one throughout the year, but Obama’s statement came shortly after an announcement that a budget agreement had been reached between the Senate and House.
According to Politico.com, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash) unveiled a two-year budget that would “cut the deficits by $23 billion, sets new higher spending levels for the next two years and replaces automatic spending cuts set to take effect in 2014.”
The 77-page agreement will avert another government shutdown for the next two years, and includes $63 billion of “sequester relief,” $85 billion of total savings, according to Politico.com. The bipartisan budget “would set the discretionary spending level for fiscal year 2014 at $1.012 trillion, and $1.014 trillion in FY 2015.”
“Today’s bipartisan budget agreement is a good first step. This agreement replaces a portion of the across-the-board spending cuts known as ‘the sequester’ that have harmed students, seniors, and middle-class families and served as a mindless drag on our economy over the last year,” Obama said.
Obama, in his statement, called attention to the budgets path to critical investments in scientific research, paving the way for new innovation and new industries. He also called it “balanced” for its approach in targeting fee increases and spending cuts that won’t hurt the economy or “break the ironclad promises we’ve made to our seniors.”
However good the proposed budget plan sounds there is still something missing. Mark Trahant in a column on Monday talking about the proposed budget deal said, “Thanks for nothing. This non-grand-bargain basically represents more of the same. There will be limited budget relief, but there won’t be the kind of investment needed to build a stronger economy in Indian country.”
As Ryan unveiled the agreement Tuesday he said, “As a conservative, I deal with the situation that exists. I deal with the way things are, not necessarily the way I want them to be. I’ve passed three budgets in a row that reflect my priorities and my principles and everything I wanted to accomplish. We’re in divided government. I realize I’m not going to get that. So I’m not going to go a mile in the direction I wanted to go to, but I will take a few steps in the right direction. This agreement takes us in the right direction, from my perspective, for the very reasons I laid out before.”
As Politico.com stated in describing Ryan’s new demeanor it’s a case of dispensing the perfect in favor of the good.
“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.”
Even with the agreement announcement, Trahant pointed out that there is still division that could make it hard to pass. Ryan and Murray both feel there is enough support for it to pass through Congress. A vote is expected this week, before the House recesses for the rest of the year according to Politico.com.