Earlier this evening, Budget Conference Chairs Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) announced a two-year budget agreement that would replace $63 billion of sequester cuts over FY2014 and FY2015. For FY2014, the discretionary top line budget would be set at $1.012 trillion, offering an additional $45 billion over FY2013 numbers, and will be evenly split between non-defense and defense spending. The numbers agreed to for FY2014 and FY2015 are below the levels established by the Budget Control Act and the sequester remains in place for FY2016 and beyond.
The sequester relief is fully offset by savings elsewhere in the budget. The agreement includes dozens of specific deficit-reduction provisions, with mandatory savings and non-tax revenue totaling approximately $85 billion. The agreement would reduce the deficit by between $20 and $23 billion. The House is expected to take up a bill on Friday, followed by the Senate next week. If this bill is signed into law, the appropriations committees will then be able to work on spending bills at an agreed-upon level in advance of the January 15th deadline (when the current CR expires).
While House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY) praised the deal, there is expected to be some opposition from both sides of the aisle. The White House has indicated support for the proposal.