The Deal’s Done: What’s in the Budget Agreement
by Jessica Schieder, 10/30/2015
Early this morning, the Senate passed a two-year budget deal, that President Obama is expected to sign soon. It would:
- Avoid a government shutdown this December
- Partially alleviate across the board cuts for two years, and
- Avoid a government default by lifting the debt ceiling through March of 2017.
The government will stay open.
The federal government’s fiscal year begins on October 1st every year. This year—as has often occurred in recent years—Congress had not agreed to the federal government’s operating budget before that date. To avoid a government shutdown, a short-term continuing resolution (or “CR”) was passed, which kept the federal government’s budget on cruise-control until December 11. This gave legislators extra time to find a consensus and avoid a government shutdown.
Since the beginning of October, legislators have been working behind the scenes to strike a deal that would also be acceptable to the White House. The deal they reached sets up a budget framework, but legislators still have significant details to work out. Disagreements over how funding is distributed between programs and the addition of ideological policy riders (i.e. limiting environmental regulation) could pose a threat to the deal.
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