A Deal on Appropriations is Here

After some speculation last week about a compromise being made on appropriations, a deal has tentatively agreed upon between House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). The agreement consists of a six-month continuing resolution to fund the government through next March at the Budget Control Act level of $1.047 trillion, up from the $1.043 trillion cap for 2012.

There certainly is relief that FY 2013 (for now) will not have the kind of high-stakes drama that has characterized the budget process since the spring of 2011. But the appropriations deal does nothing to eliminate the fiscal cliff—the Bush tax cuts and the sequester still remain. It was unlikely that either Republicans or Democrats would risk shutting down the government during an election year but the policies of the fiscal cliff are due to be far more controversial. 

Add next March to the run of important dates next year when difficult decisions will need to be made. With these potential points of crisis, however, comes great opportunity. This is the best time to get a deal done and finally put debt on a downward path. Lawmakers should come together and get a deal as soon as possibly.