Here’s what’s in Paul Ryan and Patty Murray’s mini-budget deal
Posted by Ezra Klein on December 10, 2013 at 6:34 pm
1. The total deal is $85 billion. About $45 billion of that replaces sequestration cuts in 2014. About $20 billion replaces sequestration cuts in 2015. About $20 billion is deficit reduction atop sequestration.
2. The sequestration relief is evenly divided between defense spending and non-defense discretionary spending. The sequester’s cuts to mandatory spending are unaffected.
Murray and Ryan made a deal! (Photo by Scott Applewhite/AP)
3. The new policies in the deal are split between revenue through fees — travelers will see higher prices on airline tickets and federal workers will have to contribute more to pensions — and spending cuts.
4. Spending will be $45 billion higher in 2014 than it would’ve been absent the deal.
5. The deal replaces about half of sequestration’s cuts to defense and non-defense discretionary spending in 2014. It replaces about a fourth of them in 2015. That means most of sequestration will go into effect in both years.
6. The deal doesn’t include any extension of unemployment insurance — and no such extension is forthcoming. During the negotiations, Republicans proved hostile even to limited extensions in unemployment insurance. Right now, the House is expected to vote on Friday to pass the budget deal and delay the SGR’s cuts to Medicare’s doctor pay. They’re expected to let unemployment benefits for 1.3 million long-term unemployed expire.
7. The deal denies both Republicans and Democrats what they want most. Republicans didn’t get any changes to Medicare and Social Security — much less any structural ones. Democrats didn’t get any new taxes.
8. Democrats flatly got beat on sequestration. Republicans are keeping — and increasing — the deficit reduction without ever giving up a dime in taxes. And many Republicans don’t want to alter sequestration at all. Ryan entered the negotiations with a much stronger hand than Murray.
9. “I’m proud of this agreement,” Ryan said in a statement. “It reduces the deficit—without raising taxes. And it cuts spending in a smarter way. It’s a firm step in the right direction, and I ask all my colleagues in the House to support it.”
10. This deal is possible only because there are many Republicans who really hate the defense cuts. But there are fewer of those Republicans than there were in the past. There are many fewer of them than Democrats thought in 2011.
11. Whether this deal can be a model for future deals is an open question. The core principle of this deal is that Democrats didn’t have to touch entitlements and Republicans didn’t have to touch taxes. But a lot of the policies that made that possible got used up in this deal. It’s not clear that another deal like this would work in 2016.