Congress on Verge of Drama-Free Budget

Low-ambition deal might make flying more expensive
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2013 8:47 AM CST
Congress on Verge of Drama-Free Budget
Paul Ryan speaks with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Capitol Hill, Nov. 13, 2013, at the start of a Congressional Budget Conference.    (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Paul Ryan and Patty Murray do not want another government shutdown. That much is clear based on the quick budget deal that the two are reportedly finishing up—one so modest that the Washington Post characterizes it as a "cease-fire." The bill doesn't reduce the debt, close corporate tax loopholes, or reform entitlements. Indeed, senior aides say that while replacing the sequester cuts was negotiators' top priority, the emerging deal only partially does that, raising spending to roughly $1.015 trillion, putting it on pace to hit existing 2016 targets.

To pay for that, negotiators are considering cuts to pensions for federal workers, and higher airport security fees for fliers. Military pensions, too, might be in the crosshairs, Politico reports, because the Pentagon will take the biggest hit if the second round of sequester cuts kicks in. The war over the debt is ending "with a whimper, not a bang," says the head of one debt reduction advocacy group. "That this can be declared a victory is an indicator of how low the process has sunk." The Post reports that Ryan and Murray will likely take the deal directly to the full House and Senate, whose leaders want to wrap everything up by Friday so they can skip town for the holidays. (Read more budget deficit stories.)

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