GOP, Obama Line Up Behind Modest Budget Deal; Deficit Hawk Pans Deal
WASHINGTON (AP) — Top Republicans and President Barack Obama are lining up behind a modest but hard-won bipartisan budget agreement that seeks to replace a portion of tough spending cuts facing the Pentagon and domestic agencies.
The deal to ease those cuts for two years is aimed less at chipping away at the nation’s $17 trillion national debt than it is at trying to help a dysfunctional Capitol stop lurching from crisis to crisis.
It would set the stage for action in January on a $1 trillion-plus spending bill for the current budget year.
The measure unveiled by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate counterpart Patty Murray of Washington blends $85 billion in spending cuts and fees to replace $63 billion in cuts to agency budgets over the coming two years.
Meanwhiel, a leading congressional deficit hawk says a bipartisan budget agreement hammered out on Capitol Hill is mostly a patch-work approach that fails to address wasteful spending that is contributing to a ballooning federal debt.
Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma says the accord announced by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state likely was the best that could be achieved, but says he can’t support it.
The political accommodation would restore some $63 billion in automatic spending cuts. Coburn tells MSNBC in an interview Wednesday that it doesn’t go far enough toward genuine deficit reduction and doesn’t attack duplication in federal programs. He says, for instance, there are 47 separate federal job-training programs, costing about $31 billion a year, which duplicate each other.
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