President signs budget bill
President Barack Obama has signed H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, the White House has announced.
The White House noted that the bill “revises discretionary spending caps for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, and makes various changes to current law regarding: (1) budget enforcement; (2) the public debt limit; (3) agriculture; (4) commerce; (5) the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; (6) pensions; (7) health care; (8) justice matters; (9) Social Security; (10) Spectrum auctions; (11) revenue provisions related to tax compliance; and (12) the small House rotunda.”
The agriculture change would cut payments to crop insurance companies, but congressional leaders have pledged not to make those cuts.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said that there is room for cuts to the crop insurance program, but not necessarily the cut in the bill, which would save $3 billion over 10 years by reducing the rate of return for crop insurance companies from 14.5 percent to 8.9 percent.
At a signing ceremony, Obama thanked the Democratic and Republican congressional leaders for the work they did “to get this to my desk.”
“ I think it is a signal of how Washington should work,” Obama said. “And my hope is now that they build on this agreement with spending bills that also invest in America’s priorities without getting sidetracked by a whole bunch of ideological issues that have nothing to do with our budget.”
“So this is just the first step between now and the middle of December, before the Christmas break,” Obama continued.
“The appropriators are going to have to do their job; they’re going to have to come up with spending bills. But this provides them the guidepost and the baseline with which to do that.
“And I’m confident that they can get it done on time. And there’s no better Christmas present for the American people because this will allow the kind of stability and will allow the economy to grow. At a time when you’ve got great weakness in economies around the world, this puts us on a responsible path and it makes sure that the American people are the beneficiaries.”
–the Hagstrom Report
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