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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio dismisses bipartisan budget deal as 'irresponsible'; Nelson calls it a good compromise



WASHINGTON - News broke this evening of a bipartisan budget deal and brought praise from lawmakers on both sides.

But Sen. Marco Rubio was swift to condemn the deal, arguing it fails to deal with debt and improve the economy.

"Instead, this budget continues Washington’s irresponsible budgeting decisions by spending more money than the government takes in and placing additional financial burdens on everyday Americans," said Rubio, who has opposed every major budget deal.

“In the short run, this budget also cancels earlier spending reductions, instead of making some tough decisions about how to tackle our long-term fiscal challenges caused by runaway Washington spending. I voted against sequestration because of its effect on key programs, including the defense budget, but higher spending and more revenue are not the appropriate ways to address that problem."

The last paragraph is worth noting. Rubio says that he opposed the sequestration but in the previous sentence he seems to critize the deal for easing off on some of the cuts. Some Republicans and tea party members think the sequester is a good thing. Is the Florida senator having it both ways? Spokesman Alex Conant writes: "He opposed sequester because it was a dumb way to cut spending, but has said that we shouldn't undo it without seriously reforming long-term debt drivers. Today's deal undoes some of the sequester cuts, but doesn't deal with real debt problem."

Meanwhile, Sen. Bill Nelson praised the deal. “We now have what amounts to be a major bipartisan budget deal, considering the gridlock that has gripped Congress in recent years. No one will love everything in this agreement.  But we all should be able to compromise to get something done for the good of the country.”

According to a release from the negotiators Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc):

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 would set overall discretionary spending for the current fiscal year at $1.012 trillion—about halfway between the Senate budget level of $1.058 trillion and the House budget level of $967 billion. The agreement would provide $63 billion in sequester relief over two years, split evenly between defense and non-defense programs. In fiscal year 2014, defense discretionary spending would be set at $520.5 billion, and non-defense discretionary spending would be set at $491.8 billion.
The sequester relief is fully offset by savings elsewhere in the budget. The agreement includes dozens of specific deficit-reduction provisions, with mandatory savings and non-tax revenue totaling approximately $85 billion. The agreement would reduce the deficit by between $20 and $23 billion.
The House of Representatives is expected to take up the Bipartisan Budget Act first, followed by the Senate. If this bill is signed into law, the appropriations committees will then be able to work on spending bills at an agreed-upon level in advance of the January 15th deadline.

[Last modified: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 12:39am]


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