• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 10s

Budget deal clears Senate, averting near-term shutdown threats

By Rebecca Kaplan / CBS News 1:56 PM December 18, 2013

The deal, brokered by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., cleared the Senate by a margin of 64 to 36.

The Senate approved a two-year budget agreement Wednesday that will lift the threat of another government shutdown next month and undo $63 billion of the budget cuts mandated by the sequester.

The deal, brokered by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., cleared the Senate by a margin of 64 to 36. Nine Republicans joined the 55 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents in voting for the bill, which now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature.

Although the agreement cleared the House last week on a strong bipartisan vote, the outcome was less uncertain in the Senate. Many Senate Republicans honed inon a provision that gradually reduced the cost-of-living adjustments for working-age military retirees by 1 percent starting next December, until they reach 62 years of age. The measure will save the federal government $6 billion, savings that will be used in part to restore billions to the Defense budget.

Opposition grew even louder when Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said he and his staff discovered the pension cuts would still apply to service members who and been wounded and were now disabled.

“It is unthinkable that this provision would be included in a deal that spares current civilian workers from the same treatment,” Sessions said.

Murray called it a “technical error” that “can, will and should be addressed,” when the Senate returns next year. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he will revisit the entire issue of pension cuts – that don’t take place until 2016 — after the bill expires.

The deal also requires new federal workers to contribute more to their pensions, though that measure was not as contentious. To raise additional revenue, corporations will have to pay more to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. government contractor salaries will be capped at $487,000 annually, and security fees on airline tickets will rise from $5 to $11.20 for a typical round-trip ticket starting next July, among other things.

The deal was hailed by many in Washington as the first step in restoring normal order to a Congress that has been plagued by gridlock for years. When the two budget committee chiefs began negotiating the deal in November, there was little optimism they would be able to combine two budgets that display deep ideological differences, but were in reality just $91 billion apart on 2014 spending levels.

“It is what the American people have called for: a compromise. And that means neither side got everything they wanted and both sides had to give a bit. But I’m hopeful… that this deal can be a foundation for future bipartisan work,” Murray said on the floor before the vote.

Though the symbolic victory may loom large, in reality, the deal is still a small step in tackling the issues that confront Washington.  Emergency unemployment insurance, which runs out on Dec. 28, was not extended, for example, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said his chamber will take up the issue when they return in January. It also doesn’t touch tax reform, which Ryan said from the outset would have to be tackled by another bipartisan group. And the debt ceiling will still need to be raised in the first half of 2014, paving the way for a contentious fight.

President Obama still says a debt ceiling increase should not be conditioned on other policies, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has other ideas.

“I doubt if the House or for that matter the Senate is willing to give the president a clean debt ceiling increase,” McConnell said Tuesday.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Glenn Highway traffic being diverted after light pole topples onto lanes

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 03, 19:03

    Outbound traffic on the Glenn Highway is being diverted after a vehicle struck a pole, knocking it over onto the highway, according to the Anchorage Police Department. Police were notified of the collision at 5:35 p.m. The pole fell across all three outbound lanes, but police say no one was injured. All outbound traffic has […]

  • News

    Anchorage police respond to drive-by shooting on Northern Lights Blvd.

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 03, 17:53

    Anchorage police say an airsoft gun appears to be the weapon used in a drive-by shooting that occurred Monday afternoon near the intersection of Northern Light Boulevard and Lake Otis Parkway. “Multiple projectiles went through the victim’s rear windshield,” police said in a statement. No one was hurt during the incident, according to Anchorage police […]

  • News

    Quarles named Alaska production manager for ExxonMobil

    by Associated Press on Aug 03, 16:28

    ExxonMobil Production Co. has a new manager for the company’s business interests in Alaska. Cory Quarles replaces Karen Hagedorn as Alaska production manager. According to a release, Quarles joined ExxonMobil in 1998 and last year was appointed global facilities engineering manager of ExxonMobil Production Co. ExxonMobil is one of the major players on Alaska’s North […]

  • Lifestyle

    Bristol Bay Native Corporation announces fuel businesses purchase

    by Associated Press on Aug 03, 16:09

    Officials with Bristol Bay Native Corp. are announcing the purchase of two fuel businesses in Dillingham. Officials say the acquisitions of Bristol Express Fuels Inc. and Bristol Commercial Properties LLC were completed Friday. According to the Native corporation, Bristol Alliance Fuels will operate a nearly 3 million-gallon tank farm, a Bristol Express retail gas station […]

  • News

    Authorities in Fairbanks search for man who jumped into Chena River

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 03, 14:15

    Fairbanks authorities are searching for a 30-year-old man who went missing after jumping into the Chena River Sunday evening. Sunday around 8:20 p.m., Tyler Cover of Fairbanks and another male jumped into the river from the foot bridge by Golden Heart Park, said Fairbanks spokesperson Amber Courtney in a release. Cover reportedly tried to swim […]

  • DayBreak

    Story time with Aunt Phil, Aug. 3

    by Daybreak Staff on Aug 03, 14:00

      From gold nuggets to tops and accessories, an acclaimed fashion specialty chain has its roots in the Alaskan gold rush. Laurel Downing Bill, author of the “Aunt Phil’s Trunk” book series, joined Daybreak Monday with a history lesson on the popular retailer, Nordstrom. “You might not know that Nordstroms can trace its roots back […]

  • News

    For now, Alaska exempt from climate change regulations from Obama, EPA

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 03, 13:39

    For now, Alaska is exempt from a major climate change plan — set to move America toward a more clean energy economy. Monday, President Barack Obama released the final version of the “Clean Power Plan,” – which requires states to aid in cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent by the year 2030. The plan sets the first-ever […]

  • Weather

    The fireweed forecast

    by Rachael Penton on Aug 03, 12:02

    If you’ve spent even a little time in Alaska during the summer then you’ve probably noticed it … everywhere! We’re talking about fireweed, and it’s almost bloomed to the top. “When fireweed goes to cotton, summer is soon forgotten.” Winter is on its way out whether you believe that old saying or not, and this year […]