Bipartisan Budget Opens Door To Hope For More Cooperation

The Senate is nearing final passage of a bipartisan two-year budget proposal that is giving lawmakers on both sides of the aisle hope that cooperation on other legislation is on the way.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Bipartisan Budget Agreement Nears Final Passage
A modest, bipartisan budget pact designed to keep Washington from lurching from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis and ease the harshest effects of automatic budget cuts is on the brink of passing the Senate. The Senate is on track to clear the bill Wednesday for President Barack Obama’s signature after a 67-33 vote Tuesday in which it easily hurdled a filibuster threshold (12/18).

The New York Times: Budget Deal Offers A Reprieve From Washington Paralysis
The question is whether it will be a turning point that will clear the way for agreements on long-stalled issues like Medicare, the tax code and immigration or simply be an asterisk in the history books. To President Obama and his strategists, the cross-aisle accord offers what one called "green shoots of hope" that next year may turn out better than this year. Along with the change in filibuster rules making it easier to confirm nominees, the White House sees prospects for progress, even if limited (Baker and Weisman, 12/17). 

Politico: Senate Poised To Pass Budget Deal
The Senate voted Tuesday to advance a bipartisan two-year budget deal -- a move that puts Capitol Hill one step closer to a thaw in the fiscal wars that have paralyzed Washington. ... The deal sets discretionary spending at $1.012 trillion for the current fiscal year and $1.014 trillion in fiscal 2015. It raises revenue through fee increases but there are no tax hikes or entitlement reforms, demands that had thrown wrenches in previous fiscal talks. Another round of sequester cuts due to take effect in January will be replaced with more targeted spending cuts (Kim, 12/17).

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