Chamber of Commerce backs budget deal

The Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday backed the budget deal worked out between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

In a statement, Bruce Josten, the Chamber’s vice president for government affairs, praised Ryan and Murray's agreement but pushed lawmakers to go further and reform entitlement programs as well.

“We commend Budget Committee Chairs Patty Murray and Paul Ryan for their efforts and encourage approval by the Congress,” Josten said. “Approval of this agreement represents a return to more regular order for budget and appropriations issues. Just as important, it allows the Congress to turn its attention to other pressing matters of national interest, such as immigration reform and trade policy.”

The deal restores some of the cuts from sequestration over the next two years while also raising new fees and extending Medicare cuts. The agreement would also avert a shutdown of the federal government next month.

Nevertheless, Josten said lawmakers still need to address long-term debt problems for the country.

“The two-year deal, while welcome in terms of removing the shutdown brinkmanship, must not be an excuse to wait two more years to address the fundamental challenges of entitlement reform and spending discipline. We encourage all members of Congress and the administration to work toward broader entitlement reform and greater fiscal responsibility in order to accelerate private-sector growth and jobs,” Josten said.

Supporting the budget deal puts the Chamber on the opposite side of the debate from several conservative-leaning activist groups, such as the Club for Growth, which oppose the agreement.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the deal later this week.