President Obama Signs Budget, Defense Bills

by Scott Neuman

December 26, 2013 4:50 PM

President Obama speaks to current and retired members of the U.S. military and their families as they eat a Christmas Day meal in the Anderson Hall mess hall at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Wednesday.President Obama speaks to current and retired members of the U.S. military and their families as they eat a Christmas Day meal in the Anderson Hall mess hall at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Wednesday.

Getty Images

President Obama on Thursday signed the bipartisan budget bill agreed upon earlier this month, setting the stage for an easing of mandatory spending cuts over the next two years.

The , following its passage in the Republican-dominated House.

The president also signed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2014.

As The Associated Press reports:

“Obama signed the bill Thursday while vacationing in Hawaii. The deal reduces across-the-board cuts already scheduled to take effect, restoring about $63 billion over two years. It includes a projected $85 billion in other savings. Continue reading “President Obama Signs Budget, Defense Bills”

What the budget deal means for you

The Fix

What the budget deal means for you

After a major vote in the House of Representatives Thursday, a bipartisan budget deal that would keep the government open into 2015 appears likely to become law. You might not really be all that interested in the effect this compromise will have on the economy or in the feud between Republican leaders and the conservative faction in their party. You might be too jaded to ask whether this compromise marks the beginning of a grand new era of cooperation on Capitol Hill or whether it’s just a fluke. But you should still know what’s in the deal. Here’s why:

1. Airline tickets will become more expensive.

Negotiators, led by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), didn’t want to raise taxes, but the money to restore some of the sequester cuts had to come from somewhere, so they found some creative ways of getting it. One of their solutions is to increase the fee you pay to the Transportation Security Administration when you purchase a plane ticket.

The price of a typical round-trip airline ticket will increase $6.20. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

The price of a typical round-trip airline ticket will increase $6.20. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

A typical fee of $5 on a round-trip ticket would more than double to $11.20. Continue reading “What the budget deal means for you”

Inside the budget agreement

Inside the budget agreement

The U.S. Capitol is pictured. | AP Photo
After October’s shutdown crisis, lawmakers seem most focused on the here-and-now. | AP Photo
By DAVID ROGERS | 12/11/13 8:58 AM EST

The House-Senate budget bill is 77-pages of largely modest savings but also salted with a variety of “good government” reforms that could help win votes for passage.

For example, all states would be required to use a Treasury program to crack down on fraud and over-payments in jobless benefits. New restrictions are added to better control access to Social Security data and protect against identity theft—a bipartisan cause in the House championed by conservative Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), as well as Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), chairman of his party’s caucus.

 And the agreement puts a first-time $487,000 cap on what the government will compensate contractors for the top salaries of their executives. That’s still higher than the president’s own $400,000 salary and what the White House first wanted in a proposal last spring. But it would significantly alter the current system for both defense and non-defense contractors. Continue reading “Inside the budget agreement”

Democrats: No Budget Deal Without Unemployment Insurance Extension

Democrats: No Budget Deal Without Unemployment Insurance Extension

By Matthew Larotonda 59 minutes ago ABC News Blogs
Democrats: No Budget Deal Without Unemployment Insurance Extension (ABC News)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The White House and its Democratic allies are pushing to continue a jobless benefits program set to expire for over a million long-term unemployed without congressional intervention. And while whispers persisted this week that Congress could be close to a budget deal before their holiday break, today Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said her party’s negotiators were insistent on an extension as a bargaining chip.

“Yes, indeed, we are making a very clear statement that we cannot, cannot support a budget agreement that does not include unemployment insurance in the budget or as a sidebar in order to move it all along,” she said at a Democrats-only hearing on the uninsured. “It would undermine who we are as a country.”

The congresswoman later indicated at a press conference that she could support a budget deal that doesn’t include continuation for the benefits, if they are extended separately on their own merit. Continue reading “Democrats: No Budget Deal Without Unemployment Insurance Extension”

The Two Obvious Reasons a Big Budget Deal Isn’t Likely

Dec 2, 2013 1:19PM ET / Politics

The Two Obvious Reasons a Big Budget Deal Isn’t Likely

Philip BumpImage AP
Rep. Ryan, left, and Sen. Murray. (AP)

By next Friday, the Senate and House are supposed to have reached agreement on a budget package, one of the to-do items coming out of the October government shutdown. It seems highly unlikely that any big deal will result, for a variety of reasons. But two were predictable: Congress is very polarized, and bipartisan budget committees rarely make big deals.

NBC News reports on Monday that there’s “some optimism” that the Democratic-led Senate and Republican-led House will come to agreement — but only around “a very small deal.” The budget conference committee was meant to reconcile budget bills passed by each chamber earlier this year, and was given until December 13 to finalize a proposal under the deal that ended the shutdown. But as National Journal noted last week, every little point of contention results in a large argument, both from inside the room and lobbyist pressure. That very small deal — if any — will likely include some agreement around the level of government sequestration, the spending cuts that kicked in earlier this year and are scheduled to increase in January. Continue reading “The Two Obvious Reasons a Big Budget Deal Isn’t Likely”