Policy: Budgets & Deficits

Obama praises 'balanced' budget deal

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President Obama on Tuesday praised congressional negotiators for reaching a budget deal that would roll back some sequester cuts, calling the proposal a “balanced approach” and a “good first step.”

Obama, who has frequently railed against political gridlock and blamed it for the weak progress of his second-term agenda, said the budget accord struck by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., showed how Washington could work.

“This agreement doesn’t include everything I’d like – and I know many Republicans feel the same way. That’s the nature of compromise,” said Obama in a statement. “But it’s a good sign that Democrats and Republicans in Congress were able to come together and break the cycle of short-sighted, crisis-driven decision-making to get this done. That’s the way the American people expect Washington to work.”

The president urged lawmakers to quickly pass the budget deal so “so I can sign it into law and our economy can continue growing and creating jobs without more Washington headwinds.”

The last year was marked by contentious budget fights, with the White House and Congress narrowly avoiding the “fiscal cliff” at the year's start. A deadlock over a spending bill though left the federal government shut down for 16 days and brought the U.S. to within hours of defaulting on its debt.

The two-year, $85 billion budget deal reached Tuesday would fund the government through Sept. 2015 and delay the next fiscal fight. It would remove about $63 billion in across-the-board domestic and military spending cuts, and is expected to cut the deficit by over $22 billion over the next ten years.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, also praised the deal, with the House expected to vote on it before leaving on Friday. But many conservatives were quick to blast the agreement for reversing many sequester cuts.

Obama also pressed Congress to separately pass an extension of jobless benefits by year’s end, a key demand of Democrats which was not included in the deal.

“Congress should extend unemployment insurance, so more than a million Americans looking for work don’t lose a vital economic lifeline right after Christmas, and our economy doesn’t take a hit,” said the president.

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