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Monday, October 26, 2015

John Boehner helped to save US government from shutdown (hopefully)

Maybe it was the impact of having Pope Francis as a guest speaker at a joint session of the US Congress, in Septermber. Whatever miracle it took, John Boehner will apparently leave his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives, after his resignation, by getting the budget deal needed to prevent the US government from a disasterous shut down. Thankfully, this daunting achievement is well timed, albeit long overdue.  
Congressman Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington)

Although I'm relieved, the deal obviiously isn't perfect. 

Nevertheless, the budget resolution is the alternative to a horrible government shutdown, something the Conservative Right Wingers prefer - but they won't get.  Of course, the narrative in this budget deal will likely be difficult for everyone to deal with. I'm especially curious about the item ambiguously labeled as "defense discretionary spending". (Too bad Social Security cost of living adjustments aren't included in this line item.)

Lawmakers strike major budget deal (finally!).....
By Manu Raju, Deirdre Walsh and Ted Barrett, CNN

Bipartisan congressional leaders and the White House struck a major fiscal deal in principle Monday, that would raise the debt ceiling and lift budget caps on both defense and domestic programs, according to congressional sources familiar with the deal.

The agreement could be voted on as early as Wednesday, the same day House Republicans are expected to nominate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, to replace retiring Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, as House speaker.

The final details are being ironed out and a bill could be introduced later Monday as negotiators draft the language to prepare for it for vote.

This deal would avoid a potential debt default on November 3, and reduce the chances of a government shutdown on December 11.

The agreement includes top line numbers for defense and domestic spending levels for the next two years, but Congress will still need to pass some type of omnibus spending bill that includes specific levels for various federal agencies to avoid a shutdown in December.

The deal includes $80 billion in increased defense and domestic spending over two years‎, a senior House source told CNN.

It also includes more money for the Pentagon's overseas contingency account.  (This is interesting!)
That new spending would be offset by sales from the strategic petroleum oil reserve, use of public airwaves for telecommunications companies and changes to the crop insurance program — among other measures. 

Moreover, the budget deal would spread out increases in Medicare premiums over time so beneficiaries don't feel them acutely. It would also aim to preserve the Social Security disability trust fund, sources said.

Conservatives sharply panned the deal.
(If Conservatives sharply pan this deal, then it must have something progressive in the spending.  Keeping our government open is what Congress is supposed to do!!!)

It's sad to see our American Democracy held hostage to right wing politicians who have little interest in protecting the greater good. Instead, Republican right wing conservatives seem to be focused on a narrow minded and limited political agenda. Hopefully, they will soon be fired!

Boehner's office negotiated many of the details directly with the White House, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid were also part of the discussions, as the framework was developed, according to a source familiar with the talks.



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