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Kaine Praises Budget Deal, but Disappointed With Cuts

by Katie Pyzyk | December 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm | No Comments

Sen. Tim Kaine (D) (courtesy photo)U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D) has offered a statement regarding Tuesday night’s bi-partisan budget compromise that averted another government shutdown.

Kaine largely praised the $85 billion agreement that funds government agencies through 2015. He did, however, express disappointment in certain cuts, such as cost-of-living adjustments for military retirees and for federal employee benefits.

Here is Kaine’s full statement:

“Ever since I took office last January, I made it a mission to do everything I could to replace the across-the-board sequester cuts that have so severely hurt Virginia and return to normal budgetary order. I even delivered my maiden floor speech last February on the urgent need to find compromise and avert sequestration. Tonight, I’m pleased that after passing a Senate budget for the first time in four years and going to conference with the House, a deal has been reached.

I’m disappointed that reductions in the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for military retirees and cuts to federal employee benefits were included. But the deal goes a long way toward alleviating the most harmful effects of sequestration next year – cuts that have disproportionately impacted federal employees and the defense community – and restoring basic economic certainty to businesses and families across the Commonwealth. It also ensures we won’t suffer another damaging government shutdown next month that would have resulted in more negative consequences for federal employees.

The two-year, bipartisan agreement will relieve $63 billion of sequester cuts for 2014 and 2015. It will also avert additional defense cuts – including $20 billion in cuts that were set to take effect in January 2014 – and replace non-defense cuts over the next two years. We’ve also given appropriators the certainty they need to write full appropriations bills – a significant step toward ending the dangerous pattern of stopgap, governing-by-crisis measures that have plagued the budgeting process in recent years.

While I’m still examining the details of the deal, I am pleased a spirit of compromise and cooperation prevailed.”

Update at 5:10 p.m. — Rep. Jim Moran (D) has also issued a statement on the budget agreement, saying it’s flawed but he will ultimately support it. The full statement, after the jump.

Today’s proposal represents a small yet significant step toward a return to regular order and a departure from the extreme partisanship that has made this the least productive Congress in history,” said Rep. Moran. “Sadly, House Republicans continue to use this measure to treat our federal employees as an ATM in the name of deficit reduction. Nor have they provided any relief for the long term unemployed. Further, discretionary spending levels remain inadequate to fund important priorities like medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), infrastructure repair and education and training. The agreement also misses an opportunity to close tax loopholes and wasteful government subsidies.

Nevertheless, while far from perfect, this deal does forestall another government shutdown. It further alleviates some of the pain caused by sequestration, providing the economy with greater predictability for government policy over the next two years, which is desperately needed. Long term deficit reduction still needs to be accomplished in a balanced manner. This agreement falls far short of that, but is a step towards more meaningful, lasting improvements. Given the choice between this agreement and the alternative of further sequestration and uncertainty, I will support the agreement.

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