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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid