Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced Tuesday a two-year budget deal aimed at preventing another end-of-year crisis.
The deal, titled “The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013,” calls for a reduction in the March 1 automatic spending cuts (i.e. “sequester”) that have affected multiple federal agencies. The plan is to replace sequester cuts with savings from future-year cuts.
Rep. Ryan and Sen. Murray said their budget agreement would reduce the automatic spending cuts by approximately $63 billion over the next two years. The deal would also set the budget cap for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 at $1.012 trillion and $1.014 trillion, respectively. Under current law, the budget cap for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 is $967 billion and $995 billion, respectively.
The budget agreement reduces the deficit by approximately $23 billion, Rep. Ryan said, adding that the deal offers more deficit reduction than no deal at all. He also stressed that the budget agreement doesn’t include any tax increases.
The plan would require that federal civilian and military workers contribute more of their own earning to their pensions. The plan would also increase premiums on companies whose pension plans are insured by Washington as well as airline fees for travelers.
“I see this agreement as a step in the right direction,” the Wisconsin congressman said. “In a divided government, you don’t always get what you want.”
The deal does not cover the debt ceiling.
“That’s another press conference subject matter,” Rep. Ryan said.
The agreement also does not include an extension of the long term unemployment benefits that will expire on Dec. 28.
The deal is expected to pass both chambers despite grumbling from the left over the exclusion of unemployment extensions and grumbling from the far right over the increases in spending.
“While modest in scale, this agreement represents a positive step forward by replacing one-time spending cuts with permanent reforms to mandatory spending programs that will produce real, lasting savings,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said after the announcement.
“Pleased Chairmen Ryan and Murray have presented an agreement that reduces deficit, makes long term pension reforms and doesn’t raise taxes,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) added.
The White House released a statement after Rep. Ryan and Sen. Murray’s announcement, praising their deal.
President Barack Obama encouraged lawmaker to “actually pass a budget based on this agreement so I can sign it into law and our economy can continue growing and creating jobs without more Washington headwinds.”
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This post has been updated.