It may seem like a “Christmas miracle” to some, but Congress has actually come to a rare bi-partisan agreement regarding an $85 billion budget over the next ten years. Although Democrats failed to get an extension for unemployment benefits for those who have already been out of work for 26 weeks, the deal does restore close to $63 million in automatic cuts from programs ranging from the Pentagon to national parks through September 30, 2015, while still lowering the country’s debt by a (modest) $23 billion without raising taxes.
“It cuts spending in a smarter way than the ones in effect,” commented Budget Committee chair Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).
In order to cover the deficit cuts, newly hired federal workers will be required to make larger contributions to their own pension plans, while there will also be some (unspecified) savings from retirement programs involving the military. In addition, there will be a $5 increase in typical round-trip airfare to offset a raise in federal airport security.
Note: Despite the fact that Republicans and Democrats have "broken the gridlock which produced the government shut down earlier this year,"according to Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Tea Party groups are already looking for ways to push Conservatives to oppose the deal.