Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairs of the House and Senate Budget Committees, unveiled a two-year budget agreement aimed at easing the pain of sequestration and preventing another government shutdown. The deal, announced late Tuesday night, looks to cut through deeply partisan politics that has gridlocked Congress in recent years. If approved by both the House and the Senate, it will provide $63 billion in “sequester relief” over the two years and reduce the deficit up to $23 billion during the same time period. The budget agreement set overall discretionary spending at $1.012 trillion in Fiscal 2014—mid-way between House and Senate figures—and $1.014 trillion in Fiscal 2015, according to a joint release from Murray and Ryan. Defense discretionary spending in Fiscal 2014 would be $520.5 billion. Ryan said the bill reduces the deficit without raising taxes by cutting spending in a “smarter way.” Murray said, “It’s a good step in the right direction.” President Obama also supported the agreement calling it a good first step. He urged members of both parties to back the bill and pass a budget he can sign it into law. “This agreement doesn’t include everything I’d like—and I know many Republicans feel the same way. That’s the nature of compromise. But, it’s a good sign that Democrats and Republicans in Congress were able to come together and break the cycle of short-sighted, crisis-driven decision-making to get this done,” said Obama. “That’s the way the American people expect Washington to work.” (White House statement)
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.