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Congressional Republicans reach budget deal

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Congressional Republicans reach budget deal

Congressional Republicans announced Wednesday that negotiators have reached a deal to reconcile House and Senate budgets plans, which, if approved, would mark the first GOP budget in nearly a decade and the first joint congressional budget since 2009. “This balanced budget reflects a commitment on the part of the House and Senate to fulfill our obligation to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars,” said House Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., in a joint statement with Senate Budget Chairman Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.635657485067465266-AP-GOP-Budgets-Fact-Check

The ten-year blueprint is non-binding, but it outlines the GOP’s spending priorities and is symbolically important for a party eager to prove its ability to govern ahead of the 2016 election. The final budget was temporarily delayed this week by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who refused to sign off on the deal over concerns that the fiscal plan includes too many budgetary gimmicks. Corker relented on Wednesday. “There is no question this budget is far from perfect, but it is some progress since it has been a long time since the Congress has completed this basic part of governing,” he said.

Final passage — which could come as early as this week — will also trigger a legislative pathway for Republicans to vote again this year to repeal President Obama’s health care law. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Monday criticized Republicans’ relentless pursuit to uproot the law, calling it a “smashing success” that has provided coverage for the first time to millions of Americans. “It says a lot about their inability to govern, and quite frankly, their grasp upon reality, that Republicans refuse to acknowledge the facts,” he said.

The competing House and Senate budgets were similar in most respects: both blueprints achieved balance within a decade, cut nearly $5 trillion in federal spending, raised no new taxes, and boosted defense spending at the expense of domestic programs. The House budget also included a more ambitious overhaul of the Medicare system for seniors from a guaranteed benefit to a premium support system for future seniors to buy private insurance. The Senate GOP’s budget only called for cost savings in the existing Medicare system.

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