Congress to vote on 2-year budget plan

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December 18, 2013, 5:38 am
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(NECN/NBC News: Tracie Potts)  - Wednesday is the day Congress could actually send the president a budget, not just for next year, but for the next two years.

That would mean no more kicking the can down the road every few months, no more threats of a government shutdown and no more in-fighting between Democrats and Republicans over a spending plan.

There's still some opposition, but all indications are that this probably is going to happen.

The House approved it and went home. Wednesday it's up to the senate to send the president a $1 trillion budget for the next two years.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, "We're seeing government, Washington do some of the things that it's supposed to do, Congress do some of the things that it is supposed to do."

It's not the spending plan everyone wanted.

But it would prevent another government shutdown on Jan. 15.

Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota said, "It does settle the budget issue here for the next couple of years."

In this budget there is more money for the Pentagon and other areas that saw deep cuts this year, a Medicare fix so doctors can get paid for the next three months and higher fees for corporations and airline tickets.

But there are no new taxes, no more unemployment extensions, higher pension contributions for federal workers and smaller increases for retired veterans.

Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama said, “People who've served 20 years in the United States military, their pay is going to be cut as much as $70,000 for Staff Sergeant over their life time and we need to think about that."

This budget erases $23 billion in red ink, just a fraction of what the nation owes.

Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio said, “It is certainly not a comprehensive agreement the American people deserve."

Tags: vote, congress, Senate, government , budget, House, shutdown
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