Economists Welcome Small-Ball Deal

McClatchy Washington BureauDecember 12, 2013 

Although the bipartisan budget deal being voted on by Congress amounts to small ball, lacking a grand vision or deep changes to what fiscally ails the nation, economists nonetheless are supportive.

"The budget deal wasn't a Grand Bargain. But it does mean that if Congress passes it ... it will have avoided another government shutdown, another fight over the debt ceiling, and the threat over the debt ceiling and things like that, and that's a positive," said Martin Regalia, chief economist of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Also upbeat about the pending deal was Doug Handler, chief U.S. economist for forecaster IHS Global Insight.

"It's fantastic for the economy. The alternative would be the sequester, and a much more serious downturn in spending," said Handler, adding that the deal softens the blow of scheduled federal spending cuts. "While the impact is (still) negative, it is an improvement over what had been."

The deal being voted on first in the House of Representatives would allow for $63 billion more in federal spending than had been called for in the Budget Control Act that imposed a sequester, or across the board spending cuts. The additional federal spending will be split equally between defense and other government programs.




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