Senate approves two-year bipartisan budget agreement

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A difficult road ahead as Paul Ryan voted speaker.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The ambitious budget and debt deal cleared a major hurdle in the Senate early Friday, setting the stage for Congress to pass the measure and send it to President Barack Obama.The US Senate passed legislation early on Friday extending government borrowing authority until 15 March 2017 and locking in a two-year budget plan to increase military and domestic spending by $80bn.

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted early Friday to curtail debate on a crucial bipartisan budget agreement that was reached this week between congressional leaders and the White House, virtually ensuring that the bill would move speedily toward passage and on to President Obama for his signature. The budget accord would increase spending by $80 billion over two years and raise the federal debt ceiling, averting a default that the Treasury had warned would otherwise occur early next week. Several of the GOP presidential candidates had criticized the legislation, which is aimed at averting a catastrophic default, avoiding a partial shutdown and setting government spending priorities for two years. Paul Ryan took the gavel as speaker of the House yesterday, replacing John Boehner and becoming the youngest person to hold the position in more than a century. “I think Paul Ryan is a perfect choice,” South Carolina U.S. Obama negotiated the accord with Republican and Democratic leaders who were intent on steering Congress away from the brinkmanship and shutdown threats that have haunted lawmakers for years.

For Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the agreement achieves his two chief goals: It helps avert a government shutdown and a default on the nation’s debt. Sen. and GOP presidential hopeful Lindsey Graham said yesterday during an appearance on Boston Herald Radio. “He’s well- respected from all corners of the party. Former Speaker John Boehner felt a particular urgency days before leaving Congress, while lawmakers looked ahead to presidential and congressional elections next year. And Senate Democrats successfully extracted spending increases for domestic programs, collecting dividends from a risky strategy cooked up this summer to block all appropriations bills to try and force Republicans into budget negotiations. “This agreement isn’t perfect,” McConnell said Thursday. “But here’s the bottom line. Passage of the legislation, H.R. 1314, would mean that through the end of Obama’s presidency conservatives could no longer threaten to force a default in an effort to win unrelated policy changes.

This is a fully-offset agreement that rejects tax hikes, secures long-term savings through entitlement reforms, and provides increased support for our military — at a time when we confront threats in multiple theaters.” But it was that sense of compromise that opened up McConnell to scathing attacks from fellow Republicans eager to distance themselves from the budget deal — not the least of whom was Texas Sen. I think our best days lie ahead.” The 45-year-old Ryan, who was Mitt Romney’s running mate during his 2012 presidential bid, was at first reluctant to take the gig, but said he would take the gavel if a set of demands were met, including having time to spend with his children and getting the backing of certain factions of House Republicans — including the conservative Freedom Caucus. It includes a two-year deal on defense and non-defense spending levels, though lawmakers still must work out details before current government funds expire Dec. 11.

With just 46 Democrats, the outcome is exactly what Harry Reid and the Democrats would want,” Cruz said of the budget agreement. “Is this not a curious state of affairs? John Cornyn, R-Texas, the party’s top vote counter, said he was confident it would garner the 60 votes needed to overcome delaying tactics by Paul and another presidential candidate, Sen. Another Republican presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, speaking on the Senate floor late on Thursday, complained that Republican majorities had given Obama a “diamond-encrusted, glow-in-the-dark Amex card” for government spending. And they complained that it would breach previously agreed-upon spending caps that they said were a much-needed step toward responsible cost controls. Why is a Republican majority leader fighting to accomplish the priorities of the Democratic minority.” Cruz’s remarks overshadowed a speech from yet another GOP presidential contender who chose not to make it so personal: Sen.

The agreement raises the government debt ceiling until March 2017, removing the threat of an unprecedented national default that would have come in a few days. While the agreement was negotiated by Obama and top lawmakers from both parties, it faces opposition from three Republican senators running for president who paint the agreement as a symbol of Washington’s problems. You can spend as much as you want, and we’re going to do nothing,’” Paul griped. “In fact, we’re going to help you.” Cruz canceled campaign events in Nevada to return to Washington for the votes. The deal averts a looming shortfall in the social security disability trust fund that threatened to slash benefits, and heads off an unprecedented increase in Medicare premiums for outpatient care for about 15 million beneficiaries. Daniel Webster before ultimately voting for Ryan. “Paul Ryan is also a good man and I count him as a friend and I told him my dealings with him, every one of them, they’ve been straight up, he has kept his word,” King said. “I can work with Paul Ryan.” “Let’s be frank: the House is broken,” Ryan said after the vote. “We are not solving problems.

It was the last major legislation passed before Boehner gave up his gavel to new Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who was elected and sworn in Thursday. One, he said, would simply move up slightly the due date of pension insurance premiums scheduled to be paid to the federal government, so that the money would be captured within the 10-year window used for budget scoring purposes. “Yes, it adds $2.3 billion into the 10-year window,” he said. “It’s actually zero savings. Ryan also promised “to reject last-minute deals, and to stop the culture of retribution and intimidation against fellow Republicans,” Huelskamp said.

Lankford said another supposed cost-saver would divert $1.5 billion from a fund to compensate crime victims. “Apparently, this budget agreement qualifies, though, as a victim of crime because $1.5 billion is taken from the Victims Crime Fund and dedicated not to victims of crime but to spending in other areas,” he said. They said the agreement stood to put an end to five years of bitter clashes over fiscal policy between congressional Republicans and the Obama administration. There’s also a drawdown from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and savings reaped from a Justice Department fund for crime victims that involves assets seized from criminals.

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