The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 13, 2013

House bill isn’t perfect, but it shows Republicans, Democrats can work together


Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — A budget bill intended to ease some of the across-the-board federal spending cuts instituted earlier this year appears headed for victory in the Senate, but we won’t know for sure until next week.

The legislation passed the House this week by an overwhelming vote of 332-94, gaining support from both political parties.

The Senate plans to vote next week, and it appears many Republicans will oppose the legislation.

The legislation isn’t ideal, but anymore what that happens in Washington is? It would eliminate some $63 billion in across-the-board cuts that hit the Pentagon and domestic agencies earlier this year. At best, though, it’s just a temporary truce in the partisan bickering that has plagued Washington and led to a federal government shutdown this fall.

The bill leaves in place most of the $1 trillion in automatic cuts slamming the Pentagon, domestic agencies and Medicare providers through 2021, but eases harsh cuts for 2014 and 2015.

It would raise money to cover the cuts by increasing airline security fees, curbing pension benefits of new federal workers or working-age military retirees and increasing premiums on companies whose pension plans are insured by the federal government.

As we said, it’s not the perfect piece of legislation that solves the federal government’s budget woes. It’s a short-term fix to the problem, not anything close to a long-term solution.

But, it is a step and shows that Republicans and Democrats can work together. The legislation was worked out by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee last year, and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., a 21-year veteran of the Senate.

This bill buys Congress time to come up with more extensive, meaningful worth later. We hope lawmakers will take advantage of the reprieve.