Budget deal meets low expectations, but is no 'grand bargain'
By The Associated Press
Published: Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, 5:48 p.m.
WASHINGTON — People hoping for a government that works better can't decide whether to cheer or lament a bipartisan budget bill that legislative leaders call a breakthrough even as they acknowledge it does little.
In an era of low expectations, House passage of the bill marks a rare cease-fire that should avoid a repeat of this fall's partial government shutdown and flirtation with default. Yet it comes nowhere near the more ambitious efforts to address long-term spending and debt. Such comprehensive plans repeatedly collapsed in recent years despite secret White House talks, blue-ribbon panels, a congressional “supercommittee” and other devices and tactics.
Several Washington insiders warn against assuming the budget deal will lead to progress on immigration and other stalemated issues.
“The president calls it a good first step, but to what?” said Bob Bixby of the bipartisan Concord Coalition, which advocates far-reaching budget reforms. “My fear is that it may be the end of the search for the larger grand bargain rather than the beginning. It has that feel.”
“Grand bargain” refers to a bipartisan accord that would start to slow the long-term cost projections of Social Security and Medicare while raising tax revenues to lower the deficit, among other things.
The bill that passed the House on Thursday and awaits Senate action is a tiny step forward, Bixby said. “But you can't get that excited if your kid brings home a D because it wasn't an F,” he said.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a chief architect of the budget deal, said the agreement helps “bring some respect to the word ‘compromise.' ”
Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who represented Republicans in negotiating the deal, expressed hope that “the country is not going to see these shutdowns and Congress is going to get back to the business of paying the bills and prioritizing spending.”
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.
- Expats renounce citizenship over U.S. tax hassles
- Obama gets in some golf on family trip to Key Largo
- Parents of ‘spoiled’ teen urge her to return home
- Wikileaks founder teases about more secrets to be released
- Immigrant detainees on hunger strike
- Obama losing close adviser to end 9 years of service
- Oklahoma governor’s daughter regrets wearing Native American headdress
- Panel’s IRS probe could stall, GOP chairman says
- El Nino could bring relief to U.S.
- Former National Security Agency contractor Snowden’s leaks to cost billions, take years to fix
- John Denver tune finally an ‘official’ W.Va. state song