The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

U.S. Senate Passes Budget Deal

@AFP

Washington (AFP) – The Senate passed a bipartisan two-year budget accord on Wednesday, signaling greater U.S. fiscal stability in the year ahead and reducing the likelihood of a government shutdown in January.

The measure supported by nine Republicans and the entire Democratic caucus, lays out top-line spending limits for 2014 and 2015, while erasing $63 billion in automatic spending cuts that were to kick in on January 1. The legislation now heads to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature.

It is expected to be signed by the president before he heads to Hawaii on Friday for his Christmas break.

The legislation was one of the final major accomplishments for Congress in 2013, which by all accounts has been a miserable year for American lawmakers.

Following the expected approval of a massive defense spending bill later this week as well as several executive and judicial nominations, the Senate heads to recess until early January.

Budget experts from the Senate and House of Representatives have until January 15 to craft a series of spending bills under the new limit, or risk another shutdown like the one that paralyzed Washington in October.

The bill increases the $967 billion cap for 2013 spending to $1.012 trillion next year and $1.014 trillion in 2015, and brings some normalcy to a process recently rocked by chaos.

Many Republicans including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted against the deal, arguing it slightly increases spending, breaking the limits set in 2011 legislation.

But for others, there was a sense of relief that Congress managed to pass its first budget agreement in years.

“With passage of this compromise budget deal, we’ll replace $63 billion in non-strategic sequester cuts and prevent another government shutdown, restoring much-needed certainty to… our economy as a whole,” Senator Tim Kaine said shortly after passage.

“There is more work to be done to replace the remaining non-strategic sequestration cuts and address our long-term fiscal challenges, but Congress has now shown that we can work together in a bipartisan way, as the American public demands and deserves.”

Photo: Alex Wong/AFP

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Amazing to read that over 4 million Americans quit their jobs in September — part of a mass labor pullout being called the Great Resignation. The social and economic chaos unleashed by COVID-19 has apparently jumbled pre-pandemic assumptions.

Many of the job leavers have used the downtime time to re-imagine what they want out of life and are concluding that "work no longer fits into that picture," Barron's reports.

Keep reading... Show less

Rivian electric vehicles

The Biden administration, to its credit, never misses a chance to emphasize the importance of dealing with climate change. President Joe Biden calls it an "existential" threat to humanity. John Kerry, his special envoy on the issue, said in April: "That means life and death. And the question is, are we behaving as if it is? And the answer is no."

That was certainly true under former President Donald Trump, who championed coal, abandoned the 2015 Paris agreement on climate, and dismissed global warming as a hoax. Biden has brought a badly needed shift on policy. But his policies sometimes are at war with his rhetoric.

Keep reading... Show less
x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}