Ryan, Murray announce bipartisan budget deal

Posted by William Douglas and David Lightman on December 10, 2013 

Budget Battle

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., announce a tentative agreement on a government spending plan


House and Senate budget negotiators announced a deal just after 6 p.m. that will ease the threat of automatic spending cuts and another partial government shutdown.

The bipartisan agreement provides $85 billion in savings in fiscal 2014, which began Oct. 1, and fiscal 2015. The savings were unspecified Tuesday.

It would spend $1.012 trillion this fiscal year.

The deal would split additional spending between defense and non-defense discretionary items. Total extra spending would be $63 billion.

The agreement was announced after weeks of closed-door meetings, budget negotiators Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., the House Budget Committee chair, and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray, D-Wash., announced a deal that fell far short of a political grand bargain but is good enough to probably pass both chambers of Congress before lawmakers end their 2013 session next week.

The plan was quickly praised by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

"While modest in scale, this agreement represents a positive step," he said.

President Barack Obama struck the same tone, calling the agreement "a good first step>"

If approved by Congress - and while that's expected, it's no certainty - the deal would allow the government to keep running past Jan. 15, when funding is due to expire. It would also skirt the next round of automatic cuts, or sequester, due to take effect the same day.

The parameters of a deal have been floated for some time: Annual spending in fiscal 2014 and 2015 for discretionary items would reach slightly more than $1 trillion.

The overall spending level would be more than the fiscal 2013 figure of $986 billion and the fiscal 2014 level of $967 billion, including $498 billion for defense and $469 billion for domestic programs. Pentagon officials have warned that looming defense cuts could create a "readiness crisis."

Bills funding the federal government

The federal budget is made up of a series of smaller bills approving spending for related areas of the government. Committees are responsible for writing spending laws for relevant agencies, which then must be approved by all of Congress. In recent years, fewer of these bills are being written and passed before the old budget expires and more committees are failing to write budget proposals all together.

Show how individual budgets have come together since 1997, the last year the entire budget passed on time.
Show spending bills for:

Passed before the fiscal
year began

Before September
In September

Passed after fiscal year began Oct. 1

In October
After October

Spending bills never passed

Never passed Congress
Committee failed to produce bill

Continuing resolutions

If Congress does not approve spending for all parts of the government by Oct. 1, the current budget expires and the government has to shutdown. In order to avoid closing the government, Congress frequently passes "continuing resolutions," temporarily approving spending based on the previous year's budget.

Some years, such as in 2013, Congress is unable to pass a complete budget and ultimately issues a continuing resolution for the rest of the fiscal year.


Omnibus budget bills

If Congress is unable to approve of spending on a committee by committee basis, it may use an overarching "omnibus" bill to approve of unresolved spending areas.  

Show spending bills since 1997
What happens if the Congress misses the Oct. 1 deadline?
Sources: Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service
Graphic: Danny Dougherty

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