By Erik Wasson - 12/10/13 07:02 PM EST
Obama praises Ryan-Murray budget pact
President Obama praised the budget deal announced Tuesday, calling it “a good first step” toward deficit reduction.
Obama hailed the "balanced" deal for replacing $63 billion in automatic spending cuts known as the sequester but also called on Congress to extend federal unemployment benefits, something excluded from the deal.
“This agreement replaces a portion of the across-the-board spending cuts known as 'the sequester' that have harmed students, seniors, and middle-class families and served as a mindless drag on our economy over the last year,” he said in a statement.
“It’s balanced, and includes targeted fee increases and spending cuts designed in a way that doesn’t hurt our economy or break the ironclad promises we’ve made to our seniors," he added.
“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 decisionmaking to get this done,” Obama said
He called on Congress to separately extend unemployment benefits that are expiring Dec. 28. Democrats failed to get an Unemployment Insurance extension in the deal despite a last minute push.
The House is expected to vote on the measure on Friday.
Overall, the deal includes about $85 billion in budgetary savings. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the deal would reduce long-term deficits by $23 billion.
Obama’s comments come as House leaders, led by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) also threw their support behind the compromise.
However, it remains to be seen how many House Republicans will support the plan after Tea Party groups denounced it Tuesday.