No one is pretending the two-year bipartisan federal budget deal revealed last week is any big thing from a nickels and dimes standpoint. It cuts the federal budget deficit by $23 billion — about five days’ worth of excess spending. There is much it does not do. But if the budget agreement reached by Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan falls short of miraculous, it comes as close as anything we’ve seen in a long while.
This budget deal is not what we expected. We expected nothing. Murray and Ryan, chairs of their respective budget committees, were ordered into conference by the emergency legislation that ended the massively inept government shutdown in October. The mood was so acrimonious it seemed fabulous news that Murray and Ryan would meet for breakfast. As for coming to major budget agreement by the Dec. 13 deadline, that was just pie in the sky. “Good luck to them,” said our editorial at the time.