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December 11, 2013

Why Lawmakers Reached a Budget Deal

Jonathan Chait: "Optimists are presenting the very small budget deal agreed to by both parties as a new day in Washington, a down payment that can clear the way for further dealing down the road. In truth, it's the end of the road, a small salvage operation for a grand failure of governance and political strategy stretching over three years."

"The parties have reached a deal because the cuts to next year's budget run so deep that Republicans themselves cannt tolerate them. The budget process in the House simply collapsed because even conservatives couldn't implement the slated levels of spending. The impasse threatened to require more temporary votes to keep the government open, and possibly another shutdown, which is the GOP's worst nightmare. And so Ryan and Murray scrounged together enough savings to offset the cost of a small two-year fix. But since the savings they agreed upon were, by definition, the most agreeable cuts, any future deals will become much harder. The low-hanging fruit is all gone."


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