Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray are close to a budget agreement that would set spending levels for two years and reorganize budget cuts set to take hold in 2014.... and you say to yourself, gee, where have we heard this before? Isn't this what Republicans always say right before things fall apart? And you'd be right to say that, but this time things might be a little different, even though right-wingers like Heritage Action are on the attack against the deal even before its details have been unveiled. The reason: Republicans would have to be insane to force another fiscal crisis so soon after the shutdown.
Ryan (R-Wis.) briefed House Republican leadership on the legislation Tuesday afternoon and when he emerged, he said an accord was close.
“We’re making really good progress, we’re getting close, don’t have a timeline for you as of yet,” Ryan said as he exited the leadership meeting in the Capitol.
Then again, the shutdown itself was quite insane. You'd like to think they learned their lesson, but any party capable of inflicting such damage on itself and the country is certainly capable of doing it again. So maybe things won't be different after all.
Whatever happens, it appears that the Murray-Ryan deal as it now stands would increase spending by about $45 billion over sequester levels, but would nonetheless be $45 billion less than the Senate budget. That's a win for Dems, but not a complete win—and it leaves a very important priority out of the equation: extending emergency unemployment benefits.
Emergency unemployment benefits could still be extended as part of a separate deal, so if Dems don't draw a line in the sand on them as part of the budget deal, they'll still have an obligation to continue fighting for it—as will President Obama. They really should deal with unemployment benefits now, but if they don't, the fight doesn't end.