Budget deal averts government shutdown

Narrowly avoiding a government shutdown, Congress passed a short-term funding extension late last night after agreeing on a broader budget deal that includes nearly $39 billion in cuts for the remainder of FY2011. Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, here are the key elements of the deal:

  • Sets discretionary spending for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, at $1.049 trillion. That is $39 billion less than was budgeted for 2010 and $79 billion less than President Obama had requested. House Republicans had wanted $22 billion in additional cuts.
  • Includes $513 billion for defense – less than Republicans and President Obama wanted but more than the $508 billion provided in 2010.
  • Drops Republican-backed provisions that would have ended funding for the new health care law, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and National Public Radio.
  • Drops Republican-backed provisions that would have barred funding for Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gases and for the Federal Communications Commission to implement “net neutrality” rules.
  • Bans the use of funds for the transfer of prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba to the U.S. mainland.
  • Calls for the Senate to take up-or-down votes on separate bills to cut off funding for the health-care law and to turn federal aid to family-planning programs into block grants to the states.
  • Bans the use of any public funds – federal or local – to pay for abortions in the District of Columbia.
  • Re-establishes a school voucher system for the District of Columbia, a longtime cause of House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio). The program provides low-income children with vouchers to attend a school of their parents’ choice.
  • Includes a mandate calling for an annual audit of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which had been created by last year’s Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law. Republicans have been widely critical of the law.

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