Obama signs budget deal into law

McClatchy Washington BureauDecember 26, 2013 

Obama Hawaii

President Barack Obama speaks to members of the military at Marine Corps Base Hawaii

CAROLYN KASTER — AP

President Barack Obama Thursday signed into law a two-year budget plan that eases automatic spending cuts and providing some long-elusive certainty for the government's embattled budget.

The measure relaxes the sequester through this fiscal year and fiscal 2015.

Congress passed the plan, with strong bipartisan votes, before leaving for the year earlier this month. When lawmakers return, they'll have until January 15 to pass more legislation, this time spelling out precisely how the money will be spent.

The bill will allow $63 billion more to be spent for discretionary programs, or those subject to annual congressional spending adjustments.

Half will be spent on defense, half on domestic items such as education, transportation and environmental programs.

The discretionary spending will rise to $1.012 trillion this fiscal year, above the current level of $986 billion.

Next year, spending can reach $1.014 trillion. Entitlement programs are generally tied to formulas that drive their spending without annual approval by Congress.

The budget deal's new spending is supposed to be offset with $85 billion in new revenues and other savings, spread over 10 years. Among the biggest revenue-raisers are $12 billion from higher aviation security fees and $12.6 billion in pension changes for military and federal personnel.

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