Politics

Dec 18, 2013 11:06 AM by David Randall

Budget deal within reach

WASHINGTON - Later today, Congress could send the President a budget - not just for next year - but for the next two years.

That would mean no more kicking the can down the road every few months,

No more threats of a government shutdown,

And no more in-fighting between Democrats and Republicans over a spending plan.

A final vote is set for today, but there is still some opposition here but all indications are that this probably is going to happen.

The House approved it and went home. Today it's up to the Senate to send the President a $1 trillion budget for the next two years. "We're seeing government -- Washington do some of the things that it's supposed to do, Congress do some of the things that it is supposed to do," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

It's not the spending plan everyone here wanted, but it would prevent another government shutdown on January 15. "It does settle the budget issue here for the next couple of years," said Senator John Thune, (R) South Dakota.

In this budget there is more money for the Pentagon and other areas that saw deep cuts this year.

There is also a Medicare fix so doctors can get paid for the next three months.

And higher fees for corporations and airline tickets, but there are no new taxes.

There are also no more unemployment extensions, higher pension contributions for federal workers, and smaller increases for retired veterans. "People who've served 20 years in the United States military, their pay is gonna be cut as much as 70,000 dollars for Staff Sergeant over their life time and we need to think about that," said Senator Jeff Sessions, (R) Alabama.

This budget erases $23 billion dollars in red ink - just a fraction of what the nation owes. "It is certainly not a comprehensive agreement the American people deserve," said Senator Rob Portman, (R) Ohio.

A late afternoon vote, and an early Christmas gift to the nation.

 

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