Negotiators polish cease-fire budget proposal
WASHINGTON — House and Senate negotiators on Sunday were putting the finishing touches on what would be the first successful budget accord since 2011, when the battle over a soaring national debt first paralyzed Washington.
The deal expected to be sealed this week would not significantly reduce the debt, now $17.3 trillion and rising. It would not close corporate tax loopholes or reform expensive health-care and retirement programs. It would not even fully replace sharp spending cuts known as the sequester, the negotiators' primary target.
After more than two years of constant crisis, the emerging agreement amounts to little more than a cease-fire. Republicans and Democrats are abandoning their debt-reduction goals, laying down arms and, for the moment, trying to avoid another economy-damaging standoff.
The campaign to control debt is ending “with a whimper not a bang,” said Robert Bixby, executive director of the bipartisan Concord Coalition, which advocates debt reduction. “That this can be declared a victory is an indicator of how low the process has sunk. They haven't really done anything except avoid another crisis.”
Details of the agreement remained murky as aides to the principal negotiators, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., continued to work. Ryan and Murray chair a 29-member conference committee tasked with approving a plan to fund federal agencies through fiscal 2014, which began Oct. 1, and avoid another government shutdown when a funding measure expires in January.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Next hurdle for health care likely tax season
- Uzi victim’s family feels sorry for girl, 9, who squeezed trigger
- Pilot in F-15 crash was decorated veteran
- Rosa Parks items sell for $4.5M
- Legendary ‘Walking Dead’ unit deactivated by Marines
- Half-ton alligator sets world record
- Bucks County Playhouse devotes year to budding lyricists
- Judge strikes down Texas abortion law
- McDonnell case heads for jurors
- Odds of ‘megadrought’ in Southwest rises to 50%, study says
- Astronomers get look at birth of huge galaxy