Paul Ryan, Patty Murray announce House-Senate budget deal

Dec. 10, 2013 at 8:41 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- House and Senate negotiators have agreed on an $85 billion budget to fund the U.S. government through Jan. 15, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Tuesday.

Appearing alongside U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who Ryan said he'd been discussing the budget with all year long, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee and House Budget Committee chairman told reporters the deal would cut the deficit by $20 billion over 10 years without raising taxes.

"I am very proud to stand here today with Chairman Ryan to say that we have broken through the gridlock," Murray, the Senate Budget Committee chairwoman, said, calling the deal "an important step in helping to heal some of the wounds here in Congress and show we can do something without another crisis around the corner."

The agreement does not include an extension of long-term unemployment benefits, which was a major priority for Democrats, the Washington Post reported.

The deal would repeal parts of the severe agency spending cuts known as the sequester, replacing them with $63 billion in cuts to federal-worker and military pensions, higher payments for federal insurance of private pensions and increased fees for airline travelers.

Ryan said the agreement is "a clear improvement on the status quo."

President Obama called the deal a "good first step."

"This agreement replaces a portion of the across-the-board spending cuts known as "the sequester" that have harmed students, seniors, and middle-class families and served as a mindless drag on our economy over the last year," Obama said in a statement.

"It's balanced, and includes targeted fee increases and spending cuts designed in a way that doesn't hurt our economy or break the ironclad promises we've made to our seniors. It does all this while slightly reducing our deficits over time. ... And because it's the first budget that leaders of both parties have agreed to in a few years, the American people should not have to endure the pain of another government shutdown for the next two years," Obama said.

The House could vote on the measure as soon as Thursday.

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