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Nation/World

December 10, 2013

Bipartisan negotiators reach modest budget pact

(Continued)

His Democratic counterpart, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, said, "We have broken through the partisanship and gridlock" that could have produced a government shutdown in January.

The legislation that ended the 16-day partial government shutdown in October expires on Jan. 15, and the agreement between Murray and Ryan stipulates a new spending level for the remainder of the current budget year as well as the one that begins next Oct. 1.

The $63 billion in restoration of across-the-board spending would be doled out across this budget year and the next, which ends on Sept. 30, 2015.

The offsetting $85 billion in deficit cuts would play out over a decade. They call for newly hired federal workers to make larger contributions to their own pensions, as well as an increase in a federal airport security fee that would add $5 to the cost of a typical roundtrip flight. Also included were unspecified savings from military retirement programs.

More savings would come from extending an existing 2 percent cut in payments to providers who treat Medicare patients.

Full details were unavailable pending their posting on budget committee websites.

Murray and Ryan had scarcely finished lauding their work when Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. and a potential 2016 presidential contender, announced he would oppose it.

"We need a government with less debt and an economy with more good paying jobs, and this budget fails to accomplish both goals," he said in a statement.

Even some of the bill's supporters stopped short of describing it in glowing terms.

"While modest in scale, this agreement represents a positive step forward by replacing one-time spending cuts with permanent reforms to mandatory spending programs that will produce real, lasting savings," said Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Even before the deal was announced, conservative organizations were attacking the proposal as a betrayal of a hard-won 2011 agreement that reduced government spending and is counted as among the main accomplishments of tea party-aligned Republicans who came to power earlier the same year in the House.

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