News / USA

US Congressional Negotiators Announce 2-Year Budget Deal

Senate Budget Committee chair Senator Patty Murray (R) and House Budget Committee chair Representative Paul Ryan announce the budget deal at a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Dec. 10, 2013.
Senate Budget Committee chair Senator Patty Murray (R) and House Budget Committee chair Representative Paul Ryan announce the budget deal at a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Dec. 10, 2013.
Michael Bowman
A group of U.S. lawmakers has forged a bipartisan agreement on federal spending levels for a two-year period that will prevent another government shutdown if it becomes law. The accord lessens austerity budget cuts but does not solve America’s long term fiscal imbalances.
 
The deal announced late Tuesday constitutes a compromise between the starkly different budgetary visions of the Republican-led House of Representatives and the Democratic-controlled Senate. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan hailed the accord at a Capitol Hill news conference.
 
“This agreement makes sure that we do not have a government shutdown scenario in January. It makes sure that we do not lurch from crisis to crisis,” said Ryan.
 
The accord would boost 2014 and 2015 federal spending above austerity levels set under current law, shielding many domestic and military programs from further automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, that would have taken effect absent a deal. The added spending was a key goal of Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray.
 
“Our deal puts jobs and economic growth first by rolling back sequestration’s harmful cuts to education and medical research and infrastructure investments and defense jobs for the next two years,” said Murray.
 
The agreement more than compensates for higher spending with a mix of added revenue and budget savings, including making federal employees pay more for their retirement programs. The end result, according to Republican Paul Ryan, is even greater deficit reduction that would be achieved under sequestration alone.
 
“This bill reduces the deficit by $23 billion. And it does not raise taxes. And it cuts spending in a smarter way,” said Ryan.
 
The deal does not address a key Democratic demand for an extension of soon-to-expire benefits for the unemployed. Nor does it address Republican calls for reforms to costly programs that provide income and health care for retirees. But it does accomplish something else, according to Democrat Patty Murray.
 
“This deal does not solve all of our problems. But I think it is an important step in helping to heal some of the wounds here in Congress. To rebuild some trust, and show that we can do something without a crisis right around the corner,” said Murray.
 
The White House issued a statement from President Barack Obama calling the accord “a good first step” to addressing America’s fiscal challenges.
 
If enacted, the accord would give Washington a two-year reprieve from the partisan budget wars that have consumed Congress in recent years. A House vote is expected by week’s end, with a Senate vote to follow.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid