How Congress’s odd couple reached a remarkable budget deal

How Congress’s odd couple reached a remarkable budget deal

Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray are, in many ways, opposites. But their budget deal shows the parameters of bipartisanship today: Think narrow, be pragmatic, and talk … a lot.

By , Staff writer / December 11, 2013

This file photo shows House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D) of Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington. The two struck a bipartisan budget deal Tuesday.

Scott Applewhite/AP/File

Washington

Rep. Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin and Sen. Patty Murray (D) of Washington could hardly be more unlike.

Representative Ryan is the conservative wunderkind who could have been the vice president of the United States by now. Senator Murray is the former preschool teacher who works quietly behind the scenes and once basically ran the Senate Appropriations Committee for Robert Byrd, the powerful Democrat from West Virginia, when he was ill.

Ryan is Captain Cutback – the man whose vision for reforming Medicare and Social Security make Murray shudder right down to the soles of her sensible shoes. In fact, Murray reportedly advised her close ally, Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada, not to accept a compromise with Republicans during the October government shutdown, worried that the deal would involve too much of a hit to safety-net programs. Continue reading “How Congress’s odd couple reached a remarkable budget deal”

6 Things Missing From The Budget Agreement

by Frank James

December 11, 2013 1:13 PM
 
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., walk to announce a tentative agreement Tuesday between Republican and Democratic negotiators on a government spending plan.House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., walk to announce a tentative agreement Tuesday between Republican and Democratic negotiators on a government spending plan. 

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The essence of the budget deal reached by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is better understood by looking at what’s missing, rather than what’s included in it.

The agreement by the budget committee chairs is no grand bargain. It’s more like a mini-bargain. And all the missing elements are absent precisely because the yawning ideological rift between Washington Democrats and Republicans made it impossible to include those items and still have the votes to get to “yes” and avoid a government shutdown in mid-January.

In short, it’s the really hard stuff that didn’t make it into the agreement.

So what’s missing? Plenty. Here are some of the holes: Continue reading “6 Things Missing From The Budget Agreement”

Conservatives sound alarm over tentative budget deal

Conservatives sound alarm over tentative budget deal

Published December 11, 2013 FoxNews.com

Conservative groups pushed back hard against the proposed federal budget agreement announced Tuesday, arguing that the tentative deal unravels hard-fought spending cuts.

Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis, the lead negotiators on the agreement, detailed the specifics of the proposal at an evening press conference.

The proposal would restore about $63 billion in funding that had been cut by the so-called sequester. Officials said the increases would be offset by a variety of spending reductions and increased fees elsewhere in the budget totaling about $85 billion over a decade, leaving enough for a largely symbolic deficit cut of $23 billion over the next decade. Continue reading “Conservatives sound alarm over tentative budget deal”

‘Something For Everyone To Dislike’ In Budget Deal

by Mark Memmott

December 11, 2013 7:00 AM
 Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., crafted the budget deal.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., crafted the budget deal.  T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

The reviews are coming in for crafted by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and , the package seems to have “something for everyone to dislike.”

“It won’t cut federal spending or shrink the national debt, so conservative Republicans don’t like it,” the Times says, and “it won’t restore much money for domestic programs or extend unemployment insurance, so Democrats don’t like it either. Its main virtue is that it will spare members of Congress from worrying about a government shutdown during their long Christmas break.”

Basically, adds the Washington Post, “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.”

On Morning Edition, NPR’s Tamara Keith summed up the agreement this way:

“The deal … would set the federal budget at just about $1 trillion this year and next. It would replace a big chunk of the sequester cuts with other trims and increased fees. And that’s pretty much it.”

In other words, Tamara said, Murray and Ryan went “small” instead of going for a “grand bargain.”

Of course, if one side had come out of the Ryan-Murray negotiations claiming victory, that might have doomed the plan’s chances for passage by both the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-led Senate. On the question of whether the agreement will be OK’d by both chambers, the National Journal writes that “Ryan may face the most immediate challenge, meeting behind closed doors Wednesday morning to explain the agreement to skeptical House conservatives.”

It adds, though, that:

“Ryan, whom conservatives describe as the most highly respected member of the House GOP when it comes to fiscal matters, seems up to the task of selling the deal. He repeatedly framed the agreement as ‘conservative’ on Tuesday, emphasizing at the outset: ‘It reduces the deficit without raising taxes.’ …

“At one point, Ryan seemed to speak directly to his House GOP colleagues, perhaps previewing the pitch he’ll make to them at Wednesday morning’s conference meeting.

” ‘As a conservative, I think this is a step in the right direction,’ Ryan said. ‘What am I getting out of this? I’m getting more deficit reduction. The deficit will go down more by passing this than if we did nothing. That’s point No. 1. Point No. 2 is, there are no tax increases here. Point No. 3: We’re finally starting to deal with autopilot spending, that mandatory spending that has not been addressed by Congress for years.’ ”

How is the deal playing in other news outlets? Here’s a sampling of headlines:

— “Conservative groups sound alarm over tentative budget deal.” (Fox News)

— “Conservatives balk at budget deal.” (Politico)

— “A Least Bad Budget Deal.” (Wall Street Journal editorial)

— “U.S. budget deal could usher in new era of cooperation.” (Reuters)

— “U.S. budget deal: What does it ad up to?” (The Financial Times)

Update at 8:30 a.m. ET. It’s Called Compromise, Murray Says:

She and Ryan agreed “it was important for us to put together certainty for this country [so] we worked hard to get a two-year deal,” Murray told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep this hour..

“Neither one of us got everything we wanted and we were able to keep the other person from getting some of the big things they wanted,” Murray added, “and that’s called compromise.”

 

A Modest, Common Sense Budget Deal the Tea Party Will Stop at Nothing to Destroy

Politics & Policy

A Modest, Common Sense Budget Deal the Tea Party Will Stop at Nothing to Destroy

By December 11, 2013

 House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray give a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, on Dec. 10

Photograph by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray give a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, on Dec. 10

On Tuesday night, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington announced they had agreed on a budget deal that would ease automatic sequestration cuts by about $60 billion over the next two years and pay for this new spending by raising airline ticket fees, cutting federal pensions and extending a 2 percent cut to Medicare. On the one hand, this is a minor miracle because it breaks the pattern of Congress operating only under crisis conditions that have hurt economic confidence and caused a shutdown. Last week, I explained why passing even a modest deal like this one was very good news. Nickel version: it provides modest stimulus, avoids another shutdown, and makes another default scare less likely. Continue reading “A Modest, Common Sense Budget Deal the Tea Party Will Stop at Nothing to Destroy”