White House and Congress Strike Two Year Budget Deal

Last night, senior White House officials and congressional leaders struck a deal that would raise the debt ceiling and extend the federal budget for the next two years. As reported by The Hill, the deal would extend the debt ceiling into March 2017 and end nearly a decade of sequestration based spending levels, raising caps by a total of $112 billion during the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years. The newly proposed funds would be split evenly between domestic programs and defense, marking a major compromise between Democrats and Republicans.

In addition to the above outline, the deal includes changes to Social Security and Medicare to partially offset the increase in government spending. According to The Hill, the deal “would specifically extend the 2 percent payment cut to Medicare under the sequester and create a ‘flat benefit’ for disability recipients, which would be tied to the federal poverty line rather than an individual’s own savings.”

The deal also includes language that would prevent double-digit hikes for 8 million Medicare enrollees next year and would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s auto-enrollment mandate requiring large employers to automatically enroll workers into healthcare plans. If passed, the bill would allow the administration and Congress to turn their attention to other major policy issues, with pending tax extenders legislation remaining very high on the list of priorities before the end of the year.

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