Congress Tiredly Agrees on Budget For Next Year

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Paul Ryan has made old school horsetrading cool again:

Congressional leaders on Tuesday night reached agreement on a year-end spending and tax deal that would prevent a government shutdown and extend a series of tax breaks that benefit businesses and individuals, according to lawmakers.

….The tax break package would cost about $650 billion and extend around 50 credits for businesses and individuals while also delaying until 2017 a tax on medical device manufacturers.

The approximately $1.1 trillion appropriations package would fund the government for the remainder of fiscal 2016 and contains a two-year delay of the Affordable Care Act’s so-called Cadillac Tax on expensive employer-sponsored health care plans as well as a delay of a tax on health insurance plan purchases.

The spending bill also would lift the 40-year ban on crude oil exports. In exchange for allowing this provision, Democrats secured the extension of tax breaks for wind and solar energy producers for five years.

So Republicans get a bunch of tax breaks and an end to the ban on oil exports. I don’t know why either Republicans or Democrats care one way or the other about the oil export ban, but apparently they do. In return, Democrats get a delay of the Cadillac Tax and some tax breaks for solar and wind.

Fabulous. I think the general idea is to wrap this baby up so that everyone has the energy for a full-on gang war over the White House next year. Once that’s settled, then….I dunno, nothing, probably. Whoever wins, the other side will probably continue acting the same way they are now. But at least we’ve cleared the decks and everyone will be able to go home for Christmas. These days, that counts as a win.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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