Compromise Takes Center Stage as Congress Passes Spending Bill

Posted on January 23, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

By Turner GPA Staff

Attempting to gain distance from their “do nothing” label, the U.S. Congress finally agreed on $1.1 trillion spending package, which President Barack Obama quickly signed into law on January 17.

The 1,582 page-long budget bill, which passed with unprecedented bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, will keep the government up and running through September 30.  Passage of the compromise bill, came just three months after a disastrous 16-day government shutdown forced by Republicans opposed to Obamacare.

“Across the board, our government is going to be operating without, hopefully, too many glitches over the next year,” said Obama during the signing ceremony.

The new budget includes funding for every federal agency, scales back the sequester (restoring $45 billion in automatic cuts required under sequestration), and continues spending for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. It also trims some $23 billion from the U.S. $17 trillion debt over the next 10 years.

True to its nature as a compromise bill, the budget, as pointed out in several reports, “freezes appropriations…at the post-sequester level” for Obamacare but gives the White House the “flexibility to find the financing it needs to implement the health exchanges…” Further, the spending bill provides significant funding for pre-kindergarten education, an Obama domestic priority, including $8.6 billion for Head Start.

The Republicans were able to reduce funding to two of “their least-favorite agencies”—the IRS and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The bill passed the House overwhelmingly with a strong majority of 359 to 67.  In the Senate the measure passed by a vote of 72 to 26.

With 2014 being an all important election year and the hyper-partisanship that surrounds the occasion, the spending bill may very well be the largest piece of policy coming out of Congress this year.

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