US Congress reaches 2-year budget deal

2015-10-27 19:59
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Washington - US lawmakers have reached agreement on a two-year, more than $1 trillion per year budget, that averts a damaging government shut-down and also increases the government's debt limit, Speaker of the House John Boehner said on Tuesday.

The budget increases spending by $80bn over two years - $50bn in 2016 and $30bn in 2017 - with the increases split between defence and non-defence spending. It increases the debt ceiling until March 2017.

The House of Representatives was to vote on the measure Wednesday, said Boehner, who is due to leave Congress at the end of October.

Republicans are also due on Wednesday to endorse their choice for the next speaker, Representative Paul Ryan, and the full House will vote on the speaker on Thursday.

Acting on the budget this week will help to shield Ryan from the fallout of a potentially contentious budget fight that could have resulted without the agreement.

"This deal isn't perfect by any means - but everyone should acknowledge what our alternative was," Boehner said, pointing to the dangers of operating under a series of short-term budget deals and defaulting on the debt and lauding reforms contained in the budget.

The White House welcomed the budget deal.

"The two-year bipartisan budget agreement announced today is a major step forward for our economy," said Jason Furman, the head of President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisors.

"As our strong domestic economic momentum continues to face headwinds from slowing growth abroad, it is critical to avoid the self-inflicted wounds of past episodes of fiscal brinksmanship."

Lawmakers had faced a deadline to raise the debt ceiling next week and a budget deadline of December 11.

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