Budget agreement – GOP backs down on environmental hits
We finally have a budget agreement.
After years of partisan bickering and the GOP pushing the Federal Government into shutdown, lawmakers agreed on a compromise proposal that now goes to the House and Senate for final approval.
Not in the bill: 134 of the GOP’s ransom demands, including some ugly environmental provisions:
- Stripping the Environmental Protection Agency o the ability to regulate greenhouse gases
- Reversal of clean water regulations
But it’s not all good news. Other mindless provisions did make it in, including
- No money for high-speed rail.
- No standard for energy-efficient light bulbs (not that big a deal, since industry has already moved on)
- Cutting a new regulation on livestock and poultry
High-speed rail may be out, but there’s money for transportation infrastructure (“TIGER” grants) – $600 million, a $100 million increase (which still seems like chump change, but…)
There’s plenty of money for the military – $572.6 billion (although that’s $20 billion less than the GOP had been pushing for). Good news: Some of that is for climate change and alternative energy research (although research and development overall take a big hit).
It ends the disastrous sequester.
And despite BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI!, US embassy construction and security gets cut, too – down by $224 million.
It’s expected that many deep Tea Party conservatives will still oppose the bill, but between House Democrats and sane Republicans there should be enough votes to pass it.
Next up: The debt ceiling, once again.