SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

December 10, 2013

Bipartisan negotiators reach modest budget pact

WASHINGTON — Shedding gridlock, key members of Congress reached a modest budget agreement yesterday to restore about $63 billion in automatic spending cuts from programs ranging from parks to the Pentagon and eliminate the threat of another partial government shutdown early next year.

The increases would be offset by a variety of spending reductions and higher fees elsewhere in the budget totaling about $85 billion over a decade, enough for a largely symbolic cut of more than $20 billion in the nation's debt, now $17 trillion and growing.

Federal civilian and military workers, airline travelers and health care providers who treat Medicare patients would bear much of the cost.

Significantly for Democrats, they failed in their bid to include an extension of benefits for workers unemployed longer than 26 weeks. The program expires on Dec. 28, when payments will be cut off for an estimated 1.3 million individuals.

Bipartisan approval is expected in both houses in the next several days, despite grumbling from liberals over the omission of the unemployment extension and even though tea party-aligned groups have already begun pushing Republican conservatives to oppose it.

The budget deal is one of a handful of measures left on Congress' to-do list near the end of a year that produced a partial government shutdown, a flirtation with a first-ever federal default and gridlock on President Barack Obama's call for gun control, an overhaul of immigration laws and more.

The White House quickly issued a statement from Obama praising the deal as a "good first step."

He urged lawmakers to both parties to follow up and "actually pass a budget based on this agreement so I can sign it into law and our economy can continue growing and creating jobs without more Washington headwinds."

Congress' two budget negotiators hailed their own work.

The deal "reduces the deficit by $23 billion and it does not raise taxes. It cuts spending in a smarter way" than the ones in effect, said Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who chairs the House Budget Committee and was his party's negotiator in several weeks of secretive talks.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Ipswich selectmen act to stop clam raiders IPSWICH -- The Southwest is not the only border under siege. Ipswich is taking emergency action to deal with clammers coming across the Essex and Gloucester border on Sundays to harvest on the richest clamming beach in Ipswich. It's not as serious, o

    July 22, 2014

  • fessendens Volunteers planning playroom makeover for Beverly's Riley Fessenden

    For Riley Fessenden, a fun day at home might include playing games, building with Legos and watching a movie with her family. This week, a whole lot of people are going make sure she has a great place to do all of those things. About 70 volunteers ar

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos 4 Stories

  • New Brimbal Avenue design to be presented Thursday

    BEVERLY -- Residents will get their first chance to weigh in on the new design proposal for the Brimbal Avenue/Route 128 interchange on Thursday. City and state officials, along with designer Jacobs Engineering, will host a community meeting Thursday

    July 22, 2014 6 Stories

  • Gettysburg Ipswich students honor Gettysburg Address's 150th anniversary

    IPSWICH -- A group of 30 kids gathered at the Ipswich Public Library Tuesday evening to recite the Gettysburg Address to their friends and family from the balcony. The students, who are in grades 3 through 8, have been studying the document as part

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marblehead diver rescue 2 Body of diver recovered off Marblehead

    State Police divers found the body of a 59-year-old man in the waters off Marblehead at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story