EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

National News

November 25, 2013

Prospects brighten for small-scale budget deal


Aides to Murray and Ryan won’t go into details, but their playbook of options is heavily drawn from a roster of so-called non-health mandatory spending that was negotiated at length during the supercommittee talks and an earlier 2011 round of talks led by Vice President Joe Biden and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

Airlines already are lobbying against a proposal to raise $1 billion a year in new revenues by doubling the transportation security fee on nonstop flights from $2.50 to $5. Hospitals oppose cutting federal payments for hospitals that treat low-income people. And the powerful veterans’ lobby is on red alert to oppose cuts in generous medical benefits awarded under the military’s Tricare program.

A leading option is for a deal covering the 2014-2015 appropriations cycles. Fully restoring the automatic cuts for both years would require more than $180 billion. Washington’s K Street lobbying corridor buzzed last week with emails about a tentative framework less than half that size — in the $60-70 billion range. Aides on both sides would not confirm their accuracy.

What appears clear is that even with an agreement, agencies will face a money crunch. The hard-fought 2011 budget accord set a cap of $1.058 trillion on day-to-day agency budgets for the 2014 budget year that began Oct. 1. With the automatic spending cuts, the comparable cap for 2013 dropped to $988 billion and would fall further to $967 billion — if an agreement isn’t reached before the Jan. 15 expiration of a temporary funding bill that ended the 16-day partial shutdown of the government last month.

Splitting the difference — which may be ambitious given the nature of what’s under consideration -- would mean non-war, non-emergency spending of about $1.012 trillion for agency operations. By contrast, non-war, non-emergency spending in 2012 registered $1.043 trillion.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
National News

NDN Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Photos of the Week