Republicans and Democrats have forged a deal to avoid a government shutdown in the middle of the presidential campaign.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced a sixth-month deal to continue funding the federal government through March of next year.
“It will provide stability for the coming months … This is very good,” Reid told reporters Tuesday afternoon. The deal was reached by Reid (D-Nev.), Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President barack Obama.
Votes on the continuing resolution won’t come until after the August recess. The deal is still being drafted, Reid said. The continuing resolution is free of controversial riders, he added.
The agreement heads off a partisan government shutdown fight before the November elections that neither party wanted.
Under the agreement, funding would be consistent with the $1.047 trillion level set forth in the 2011 Budget Control Act, above the $1.028 trillion called for by Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget proposal.
While the funding levels could anger some tea party conservatives who have called for deeper cuts in federal spending, many Republicans are eager to head off a contentious budget fight on the eve of a presidential election and would rather punt the issue into next year, hoping Mitt Romney will be in the White House.
Could the Tea Party blow up the deal in the House? There are 66 members in the caucus and perhaps half that many sympathetic enough to its goals of less spending and smaller deficit that they would consider voting with them. Combined with some Democrats who, for a variety of reasons, would want to embarrass the Republicans, they might get close to defeating the continuing resolution.
But there probably aren’t enough members in both parties who are willing to go to the mattresses on this, so besides some grumbling, it will probably pass.
The continuing resolution will take away a line of attack for President Obama who has been accusing Republicans of wanting to raise taxes on the Middle Class once the Bush tax cuts expire on January 1, 2013. Those cuts have been saved until at least March, when a possibly reduced GOP majority in the House — and narrow majority in the senate — will have their hands full trying to maintain tax rates where they are now. The issue will certainly test the abilities of Mitt Romney if he is elected and will serve as a kickoff for the budget and tax fights that will dominate next year’s politics.
It appears that the continuing resolution will not keep the Bush tax cuts through March. They will still expire at the end of the year unless Congress can deal with the issue in the lame duck session after the election.
I apologize for the error.