Budget compromise taking shape irks conservatives

Congressional leaders are headed back to Washington Tuesday to try to finish work on a budget deal so they can go home for the holidays on Friday. Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Quick, what’s the opposite of a grand bargain?

In the end, it’s not going to matter what the budget compromise taking shape is dubbed. The biggest question is whether conservatives will revolt.

Budget Chairs Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan are working furiously to put the finishing touches on a $1 trillion spending measure to be revealed in the next 36 hours, and it’s not sounding like it will make any sweeping changes to how the government taxes and spends.

Early reports suggest the deal, pulled together to avoid shutting down the government, would leave entitlement programs and tax rates as they are. It also would leave in place many of the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester. Spending would be slightly higher than the $967 billion framework initially considered, and it would not, as Democrats had hoped, extend federal unemployment benefits.

The Morning LineRoll Call’s Niels Lesniewski and Emma Dumain break it down:

Each side would get something: Republicans can avoid another messy government shutdown in an election year while softening a new round of defense cuts, and they seem likely to declare victory on the major sticking point: no tax increases.

Democrats will get to restore some of their favored domestic spending programs while they extract at least some small amount of revenue from the GOP — albeit in categories such as spectrum sales or user fees rather than closing tax breaks for the wealthy or corporations.

Wednesday is the last day a bill can be filed and still meet House rules ahead of the Friday deadline. The Hill’s Erik Wasson and Russell Berman report:

Releasing the bill that late in the week could be the best way to cut off a rebellion from the right, and conservatives on Monday were already expressing wariness.

“I’m resigned to the fact that fiscal conservatives always lose at Christmas,” said Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.).

For party leaders, voting quickly and at the last minute has an advantage because it leaves less time for activists and lobbyists to attack the compromise.

After all, you can’t key-vote legislation if you haven’t seen it.

But the conservative group Heritage Action already is opposing the possible compromise, and Mulvaney’s comments are likely to be echoed by lawmakers who wanted to cut spending.

Still, Politico’s Jake Sherman and John Bresnehan outline the closed-door negotiations and write that the stars might just be aligned for this deal to get done.

With most of Washington ground to a halt due to a winter storm blanketing the region with snow, the final parameters may not be known until Wednesday.


Nelson Mandela was revered early Tuesday as a leader and inspiration for the ages, as a host of world leaders and family friends honored the former South African President’s legacy.

President Barack Obama took the stage around 6:30 a.m., calling Mandela someone who inspired people around the globe and asking for a time of self-reflection. “With honesty, regardless of our station or circumstance, we must ask: how well have I applied his lessons in my own life?”

Mr. Obama said:

Mandela taught us the power of action, but also ideas; the importance of reason and arguments; the need to study not only those you agree with, but those who you don’t. He understood that ideas cannot be contained by prison walls, or extinguished by a sniper’s bullet. He turned his trial into an indictment of apartheid because of his eloquence and passion, but also his training as an advocate. He used decades in prison to sharpen his arguments, but also to spread his thirst for knowledge to others in the movement. And he learned the language and customs of his oppressor so that one day he might better convey to them how their own freedom depended upon his.

Mandela demonstrated that action and ideas are not enough; no matter how right, they must be chiseled into laws and institutions. He was practical, testing his beliefs against the hard surface of circumstance and history. On core principles he was unyielding, which is why he could rebuff offers of conditional release, reminding the Apartheid regime that, “prisoners cannot enter into contracts.” But as he showed in painstaking negotiations to transfer power and draft new laws, he was not afraid to compromise for the sake of a larger goal. And because he was not only a leader of a movement, but a skillful politician, the Constitution that emerged was worthy of this multiracial democracy; true to his vision of laws that protect minority as well as majority rights, and the precious freedoms of every South African.

White House officials told reporters that Mr. Obama did not work on the speech until after Mandela’s death last week. He traveled on Air Force One with former President George W. Bush and former Secretary of State HIllary Clinton.

Watch the memorial service here or below:


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  • Keep an eye on the Rundown blog for breaking news throughout the day, our home page for show segments, and follow @NewsHour for the latest.









Katelyn Polantz, Aileen Graef, Bridget Bowman and Simone Pathe contributed to this report.

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