Congressional Negotiators Reach Budget Deal

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from The New York Times,

House and Senate budget negotiators reached agreement Tuesday on a budget deal that would raise military and domestic spending over the next two years, shifting the pain of across-the-board cuts to other programs over the coming decade and raising fees on airline tickets to pay for airport security.

The deal, while modest in scope, amounts to a ceasefire in the budget wars that have debilitated Washington since 2011 and gives lawmakers breathing room to try to address the real drivers of the national debt – burgeoning health care and entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security – and to reshape the tax code. But it quickly drew fire from conservatives who saw it as a retreat from earlier spending cuts and a betrayal by senior Republicans.

“We have broken through the partisanship and gridlock and reached a bipartisan budget compromise that will avert a government shutdown in January,” said Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the chairwoman of the Budget Committee and the chief Democratic negotiator.

The agreement eliminates about $65 billion in across-the-board domestic and defense cuts while adding an additional $25 billion in deficit reduction by extending a 2 percent cut to Medicare through 2022 and 2023, two years beyond the cuts set by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

For Democrats and their negotiator, Ms. Murray, the deal marks a turning point in the spending wars that have dominated the Capitol since Republicans swept to control of the House in 2011.

For Republicans and their negotiator, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the House Budget Committee chairman, the deal should mean the political focus can remain on President Obama’s health care law and not another round of budget brinkmanship next month, as the government moves to another shutdown.

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