Ryan announces budget conference agreement
House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called a bipartisan budget conference agreement reached on Tuesday "a firm step in the right direction" to reduce the nation's deficit and cut government spending. Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) reached a two-year budget agreement that would avert a government shutdown next month and bolster national defense priorities by providing relief for sequester cuts. "I'm proud of this agreement," Ryan said. "It reduces the deficit without raising taxes, and it cuts spending in a smarter way. It's a firm step in the right direction, and I ask all my colleagues in the House to support it." The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 would set overall discretionary spending at $1.012 trillion for the current fiscal year. That amount is approximately halfway between the Senate's proposed level of $1.058 trillion and the House's proposed level of $967 billion. "This agreement breaks through the recent dysfunction to prevent another government shutdown and roll back sequestration's cuts to defense and domestic investments in a balanced way," Murray said. "It's a good step in the right direction that can hopefully rebuild some trust and serve as a foundation for continued bipartisan work." The agreement would restore $63 billion in sequester spending cuts over two years. That amount would be evenly split between defense and non-defense initiatives.