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Big Budget Deal Could Break D.C. Impasse

With a deadline nearing for a Federal budget deal, we’ll look at what it’s going to take to get the deal done. Plus, we listen to President Barack Obama’s tribute to Nelson Mandela.

In this Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Senate Budget Committee Chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., arrive at a Congressional Budget Conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. The two Congressional leaders are said to be close to finalizing a two-year budget plan. (AP)

In this Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Senate Budget Committee Chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., arrive at a Congressional Budget Conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. The two Congressional leaders are said to be close to finalizing a two-year budget plan. (AP)

We’ve become accustomed to federal budget battles so hard fought, so brutal, that they shake the nation.  Shut down the government.  Send blood pressures spiraling.  This month’s budget talks have been different.  Very quiet.  Under cover.  Just two negotiators at the heart of the back and forth.  Democrat Patty Murray from the Senate.  Republican Paul Ryan from the House.  Hammering out the outline of a deal.  It’s not the deal to end all deals.  There is big tension over long term unemployment benefits and more.  But a deal itself is a big deal lately.  This hour On Point:  federal budget realities.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jake Sherman, Congressional reporter for Politico. (@JakeSherman)

Heather Boushey, executive director and chief economist at the Center for American Progress’ Washington Center For Equitable Growth. (@HBoushey)

Douglas Holtz-Eakinpresident of the American Action Forum. (@djheakin)

From Tom’s Reading List

Politico: Paul Ryan’s bipartisan budget moment? — “Over the next few weeks, as Congress pushes up against the December recess, Ryan’s influence in the Capitol will be put to a test. He will have to play a major role in convincing the same House Republican Conference that triggered a government shutdown to pass a budget agreement that doesn’t drastically change Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs — the longstanding goal of Speaker John Boehner’s majority.”

Washington Post: Budget deal expected this week amounts to a cease-fire as sides move to avert a standoff — “The deal expected to be sealed this week on Capitol Hill would not significantly reduce the debt, now $17.3 trillion and rising. It would not close corporate tax loopholes or reform expensive health-care and retirement programs. It would not even fully replace sharp spending cuts known as the sequester, the negotiators’ primary target.After more than two years of constant crisis, the emerging agreement amounts to little more than a cease-fire. Republicans and Democrats are abandoning their debt-reduction goals, laying down arms and, for the moment, trying to avoid another economy-damaging standoff.”

Wall Street Journal: Lawmakers: Jobless-Benefits Fight Won’t Derail Budget Deal — “Several Democrats are pushing to vote on an extension this week in the Senate, though how to pay for it remains an issue. Congress has opted at times in the past to renew the 2008 benefits without offsetting their cost through tax increases or spending cuts. On the budget front, officials close to the talks have said Ms. Murray and Mr. Ryan are closing in on a deal that would allow spending of roughly $1 trillion in each of the next two years. The mid-October agreement to end the partial government shutdown tasked the budget group with coming up with a budget plan for the rest of the 2014 fiscal year by Friday.”

President Obama Pays Tribute To Nelson Mandela

Tens of thousands of South Africans gathered in the rain at a soccer stadium in Johannesburg today, joining world leaders to honor Nelson Mandela.  He died last Thursday at 95.  A roar of cheers met President Obama as he rose to speak:  “To the People of South Africa—people of every race and every walk of life—the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us,” he said.

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