President Obama called for a few key measures to address income inequality in a speech on Wednesday. He wants a raise in the federal minimum wage and an extension of unemployment insurance — but the budget deal coming together in Congress won't address those issues, according to a Politico report. House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan has a chance to get a victory, but it will be a small one.
Politico reports, "those close to Ryan say they’re quietly confident that his imprimatur — and the desire to finally end a multiyear run of near constant budget and spending showdowns — could attract upwards of half of GOP lawmakers." He's been working with Senate Budget Committee chair Patty Murray to set spending levels for 2014 and 2015. The two are trying to find little ways to save in the budget instead of continuing the across-the-board cuts of the sequester.
A senior Senate aide told Politico,
“Democrats won’t get revenue through closing tax loopholes and Republicans won’t get spending cuts through Medicare and Social Security cuts. So, [the deal is being crafted around] basically a bunch of fee increases and other assorted stuff.”
Congress being what it is, Republicans have already prepared a continuing resolution should a deal not come together. It's a stopgap measure that would continue sequestration cuts at the $967 billion level. The Hill reports that GOP leaders may try to bring this measure up for a vote as early as next week, but House Democrats have already said they won't vote for it. Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer said Tuesday,
“I’m not going to support a short-term CR that leads to a $967 billion level. I believe that hurts our national security, it hurts our economy and it undermines our responsibility of running government at a level that is productive for our people.”
Obama still wants Congress to go after a bigger deal before their "holiday vacation." That seems unlikely. But Ryan and Murray's small deal could succeed, as long as Ryan gets his votes in line. Politico notes, "even if some conservative Republicans can’t openly support such an agreement, senior aides say they believe they will give their blessing in private, making it easier for a package to get through the bitterly divided House."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.