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Congress passes budget deal to scale back spending cuts

The US Senate [official website] passed a spending bill [text, PDF] and presented the legislation to President Obama on Wednesday, scaling back the across-the-board spending cuts that went into place earlier this year. The bill also passed the US House of Representatives [official website] with bipartisan support, and is expected to be signed by the President. The bill restores funding to programming such as Head Start and National parks, while eliminating looming budget cuts at the pentagon. The increase in spending is offset by provisions for an additional $85 billion in savings through measures such as airline tax increases, and reductions in benefits to military retirees. Neither Democrats nor Republicans touted the bill as a full victory, but after much debate [CBS report], both sides were able to walk away with some things [Congressional record] that were important to them.

The bill is being heralded as a success largely due to the rarity of bipartisan activity during the past year. Many observers have criticized the current House and Senate [WP report] as a "do-nothing Congress" due to the historically low number of bills signed into law this year. 2013 was marked by the sequester and a government shutdown in October. The political fallout from the budget deal remains to be seen.

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