No shutdown drama this time? House and Senate negotiators have reached a budget deal well ahead of the Jan. 15 deadline, reports USA Today. Republican Paul Ryan of the House and Democrat Patty Murray of the Senate announced the $85 billion package this evening, with votes in both chambers expected by week's end. As expected, the word "modest" is turning up in most accounts. The deal restores about $63 billion in cuts to military and domestic programs that had been mandated by the sequester, an amount that would be offset by cuts and fees elsewhere.
For example, air travelers can expect to pay $5 more for a round-trip flight thanks to an increased security fee, reports AP. Also, federal workers will have to pay more toward their own pensions. Democrats lost one of their key battles—the extension of long-term unemployment benefits—though they promised to keep pressing the issue. Republicans, on the other hand, didn't get any changes in Medicare and Social Security, notes the Washington Post, which has a breakdown of what's in the measure. Despite Ryan's involvement, conservatives were chafing at the roll-back of sequester cuts, reports the New York Times. “The American people demanded, and were promised, reasonable spending limits,” says the president of Americans for Prosperity. “Politicians choosing to go back on their promise will be held accountable for their actions.” As the Hill notes: "The big question is whether that package will be accepted in the House."