second time's a charm

House, Senate Strike Budget Deal

Just in time for a nice, long holiday break, Congress avoided a January 15 government shutdown and shook hands on a bipartisan budget deal. At a press conference Tuesday, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray announced that automatic spending cuts known as the sequester would be reduced by $63 billion in the next two years—replaced by airline fees and cuts to federal and military pensions—along with $23 billion of deficit reduction. The overall budget for the Pentagon and other federal agencies is set at $1.012 trillion for fiscal 2014. "This deal makes sure we don't jump from crisis to crisis," Ryan said. Congress must approve the plan, but House Speaker John Boehner has already thrown his support behind it.