December 13, 2013
What’s in the agreement?
The hard-fought agreement between Democratic and Republican Senate leaders represents a defeat for conservative GOP members in Congress who had demanded major changes to the Affordable Care Act
Here are the provisions of the legislation, which Obama could soon sign into law, assuming it passes the Senate and House of Representatives:
— Extends US borrowing authority until February 7. The Treasury Department would maintain its ability to use “extraordinary measures” to temporarily avoid default if Congress does not again raise the debt ceiling by that date. Republicans wanted to prohibit the use of such measures.
— Extends federal spending, at current levels, until January 15. The deal maintains the across-the-board spending cuts known as “sequestration” that began earlier this year. Democrats will probably try to remove or revise those automatic cuts in subsequent talks.
— Creates a House-Senate bipartisan panel to try to come up with long-term deficit-reduction ideas by December 13 that would have to be approved by the full Congress. The panel is likely to look at potential savings to entitlement programmes, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as tax reforms that could raise revenues. But there is nothing in the legislation that will force this panel to actually agree to anything.
— Establishes new measures to try to prevent federal subsidies from being paid under the Affordable Care Act to people whose incomes make them ineligible.
— Delivers backpay to federal workers who did not receive their wages because of the shutdown.