Your Editor begins by noting that he is always leery of any “compromise” between the Republicans and Democrats when it comes to the budget. Both sides say that they gae up something for the good of all, but such compromises usually turn out to be very unbalanced, and unbalanced toward the liberals’ advantage. From The Wall Street Journal:
House, Senate Negotiators Announce Budget Deal
By Janet Hook | Updated Dec. 10, 2013 6:34 p.m. ET
House and Senate negotiators are on the verge of announcing a budget agreement that would avert a government shutdown and bring a rare dose of stability to Congress’s fiscal policy-making over the next two years, according to lawmakers briefed on the negotiations.
Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) worked through the day Tuesday to put the finishing touches on a two-year budget agreement and briefed colleagues on the broad outlines of the emerging deal.
Senate Democrats who met midday with Ms. Murray said the deal’s announcement was imminent. Negotiators aim to bring the bill to the House for a vote before week’s end, when the House is scheduled to adjourn for the year. A Senate vote likely would follow next week.
The goal of the Murray-Ryan talks has been to find a way to ease the next round of across-the-board spending cuts, which are slated to reduce the budget for most domestic and defense programs to $967 billion in 2014, down from $986 billion in 2013.
The deal is expected to raise that budget target to about $1 trillion in 2014 and 2015. But to keep that from increasing the deficit over the long term, the deal calls for offsetting the increased spending by raising government fees and cutting spending in other parts of the budget, such as on federal employee pensions.
My number one question: does this deal increase discretionary federal spending over what it would be with the sequester in place? The last two paragraphs make it sound as though the sequester cuts will be replaced by future targets in cuts of slightly more than the sequester amounts, and that some government fees — meaning: taxes — will be increased.
Not included in this deal is the Democrats’ proposal to, once again, extend long-term unemployment benefits.
Your Editor will wait to see just what the details of this agreement are before passing judgement, but he is not optimistic.