current affairs

In the United States, a bipartisan budget deal

It was a deal, in the words of Los Angeles Times political columnist Doyle McManus, a deal with something for everyone to dislike.

It was a deal, in the words of Los Angeles Times political columnist Doyle McManus, a deal with something for everyone to dislike. Yet, the idea of a government shutdown in January in the United States appeared to be averted with the announcement of a budget deal this week by the country’s legislators.

Bipartisanship at work

The two key politicians in charge of the budget talks, Republican congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington state, announced a deal that would cut $23 billion (£14.1 billion) from the federal deficit over the next decade, and would set funding levels for the budgets of the US government for 2014 and 2015, according to a report from National Public Radio. Taxes would also not go up and defence spending would stay the same, according to a report from Time magazine.

Many political observers have noted this as the most significant deal considering the division of America’s legislature, with the Republicans having the majority in the House of Representatives, and the Democrats having the majority in the Senate.

In an interview with NPR, Murray said certainty for the US was crucial. “We worked hard to get a two year deal, which I think is a great step forward,” Murray said. “But neither one of us got everything we wanted and we were able to keep the other person from getting some of the big things they wanted.”

Ryan, in an interview with the US broadcaster CBS, said it was a step forward, especially considering the significant amount of criticism within his own party. “What matters to me is, are we moving in the right direction?” Ryan said. “This is a modest step in the right direction. But nonetheless we are going in the right direction.”

Politically key time of year

The budget passed the House December 12 332-94, and is likely to pass the Senate, the Time report adds. It will then be signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The deal is one of the last pieces of legislation before members of Congress head home for the Christmas recess, a goal that was looking to be tackled by Congress. With elections due in the New Year, the deal is significant politically speaking, as satisfaction with public officials faced a decline considering the disagreements between parties. Many blame the 16 day shutdown of federal services in October on the polarising disagreements with both parties on the issue of the budget.

Politically speaking, questions remain on the implications for both parties going into the New Year, as the stage is set for elections, where possibilities emerge that a new party make take the majority of either chamber. Elections are for all members of the House, who serve two year terms, and for one third of the Senate, who serve six year terms.

Yet, there is more to debate when the House and Senate members return in January, and what happens between now and November may likely reappear when Americans go to the ballot boxes and cast their votes.

Politically speaking, anything can happen.

What do you think? Can bipartisanship be achieved after this deal ahead of elections? Have your say in the comments section below.