federal budget

Think of the budget plan released Tuesday by President Obama as a magic wand. If he could wave it and make every line come true, how would the U.S. economy look?

Like this:

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a $1.1 trillion spending bill that would fund the federal government into October and bring to an end, for now at least, the bitter partisan battles that have led to one government shutdown and threatened to push the U.S. into defaulting on its bills.

Elizabeth Lytle is an administrative program assistant with the Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago — "a glorified name for a secretary," she says.

If Lytle isn't thrilled with her title, she's even less enamored of her job.

"The morale is just unbelievably low because we're never recognized," Lytle says. "Management doesn't seem to go to bat for us."

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Oklahoma conservation districts are expressing concern over federal fees for basic conservation assistance for farmers and ranchers that are being proposed in the federal budget agreement.

Kim Farber, president of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, says the proposal amounts to a step backward in the effort to protect natural resources.

The House is expected to vote Thursday on the bipartisan deal that would set spending levels for the next two years, replace many of the indiscriminate "sequester" budget cuts and, in theory at least, take off the table one of the most partisan of the many partisan issues that have contributed to the gridlock in Washington.

NPR's Tamara Keith tells our Newscast desk that passage is expected but not certain. She adds that:

Sen. Coburn Calls Budget Deal "Patch Work"

Dec 11, 2013
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) greeting President Barack Obama.
Tom Coburn / Facebook

A leading congressional deficit hawk says a bipartisan budget agreement hammered out on Capitol Hill is mostly a patch-work approach that fails to address wasteful spending that is contributing to a ballooning federal debt.

Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma says the accord announced by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state likely was the best that could be achieved, but says he can't support it.

The reviews are coming in for the bipartisan budget deal crafted by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and as the Los Angeles Times says, the package seems to have "something for everyone to dislike."

Now that the government has reopened, attention turns to the next phase of the spending fight, a battle that is far from over.

The bill that President Obama signed early Thursday provides only a temporary respite to the partisan tussles that have perennially plagued the budget process. The government stays open through Jan. 15 and the federal borrowing authority is safe until Feb. 7. After that, all bets are off.

Update at 10:18 p.m.: House Approves Bill:

The crisis is over. With about two hours before the country reached the debt ceiling, the House has approved the bill and it is now it's way to the White House. We've posted separately on that development and we are putting this live blog to bed.

Our Original Post Continues:

In the course of any given month, the government collects billions of dollars in taxes, spends billions more, and borrows money to cover the difference between what it collects and what it spends.

If Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling soon, the government won't be able to borrow money to cover the difference anymore and won't be able to pay all of its bills.