The White House and congressional leaders reached a two-year budget deal overnight that would lift mandatory sequestration cuts on both defense and domestic spending and raise the federal debt ceiling, averting a fiscal standoff as the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives prepares for new leadership.
A White House official said on Tuesday the compromise deal would protect Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries from cuts and urged members of Congress from both parties to pass it.
“It’s a responsible agreement that is paid for in a balanced way by ensuring that hedge funds and private equity firms pay the taxes they owe and by cutting billions in wasteful spending,” the official said in a statement.
House Speaker John Boehner and other congressional leaders raced to finalize the deal, which included extending the debt ceiling until March 2017, on Monday night, before he transfers power to his expected successor, Paul Ryan.
As part of the deal, congressional leaders proposed to sell 58 million barrels of oil from U.S. emergency reserves over six years starting in fiscal 2018 to help pay for an end to mandatory spending cuts, according to a copy of the bill posted to a congressional website.
If successful, the agreement would mark a final act for Boehner to clear some politically divisive legislation as Ryan takes over as speaker – assuming a majority of the House votes to put him in the top job in an election set for Thursday.