Here's The Final Language Of The Senate's Deal
- Government funded through January 15 at sequestration levels
- Debt limit extended until February 7, subject to vote of Congressional disapproval, which Obama can veto
- A budget conference established to come up with long-term spending plans by December 13
- Income verification for recipients of subsidies under Obamacare’s newly-established exchanges
- Backpay for furloughed workers
Also, notably, here are some of the demands that Republicans have made in the last few days, but that are NOT in the bill:
- No repeal of the “extraordinary measures” provision that allows the Treasury to do accounting tricks to avoid default
- No ‘Vitter Amendment‘ that would have taken away employer contributions from the health plans of Congressional staff
- No provisions related to birth control access
- No flexibility in how government agencies make budget cuts to their programs, as they are required to under sequestration
- No repeal or delay of the medical device tax
- No repeal or delay of the reinsurance tax
- No repeal, replacement, or delay of any aspects of Obamacare’s exchanges or individual mandate
It might look like this is overall a good deal for Democrats given the number of things that Republicans aren’t getting. It is good: It reopens the government and lifts the debt ceiling without doing any major additional damage to existing programs.
But it’s important to remember that the baseline for negotiations wasn’t exactly even: Democrats accepted the major budget cuts of sequestration (slated only to get worse on January 15, the same day their budget deal expires), and their only demand was actually the status quo: Keeping the government running and having the country fulfill its financial obligations. They didn’t request to restore the funding sequestration took away, they didn’t demand any new programs or initiatives that Democrats support. And if the previous budget conference is any indication, the one established under this deal has the potential to blow up in Democrats’ faces, leading to more cuts instead of an actual, long-term budget. In that sense, while it is the best, cleanest deal the American people can get, the Democratic party has been pulled slightly from center to right, not from left to center.
Meanwhile, Republicans threw everything but the kitchen sink into their negotiations. It’s no surprise they’re taking a lot of losses.