Budget Deal is a Go

On Wednesday (December 18th), the Senate passed a two-year, bipartisan budget plan (already approved by the House) that would restore $63 billion to military and domestic programs over two years compared with spending caps set to resume in January. Over 10 years, it would reduce deficits slightly by trimming military and federal-worker pensions, extending a two percent cut to Medicare providers and making other changes.

The long awaited bipartisan budget deal means that House and Senate Appropriations Committees can now begin to work toward passing the few noncontroversial FY 14 funding measures; combining those that could have been passed if there had been more time into an omnibus appropriations bill; and creating another extended Continuing Resolution for those measures (most likely EPA among them) where compromise could not be achieved in a timely fashion.  All of this must be done by January 15th, the date on which the current CR expires.  Despite coming to agreement on the broad budget framework, issues of concern continue for big ticket topics such as health care, financial regulation, and environment.