U.S. lawmakers have reached an agreement to cut billions of dollars from the federal budget and avoid a government shutdown minutes before a midnight deadline.
President Barack Obama said there are “painful cuts” in the deal reached late Friday, which slashes some $38 billion from the 2011 budget.
“This agreement between Democrats and Republicans on behalf of all Americans is on a budget that invests in our future while making the largest annual spending cut in our history. Like any worthwhile compromise, both sides had to make tough decisions and give ground on issues that were important to them – and I certainly did that. Some of the cuts we agreed to will be painful. Programs people rely on will be cut back. Needed infrastructure projects will be delayed. And I would not have made these cuts in better circumstances. But beginning to live within our means is the only way to protect those investments that will help America compete for new jobs, investments in our kids’ education and student loans, and clean energy and life-saving medical research. We protected the investments we need to win the future.”
Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner said it was “a long fight,” but said it was important to keep spending down to create a better environment for creating jobs.
“I’m pleased that Senator Reid and I and the White House have been able to come to an agreement that will, in fact, cut spending and keep our government open, and I expect that the House will vote yet tonight on a short-term continuing resolution into next week to allow for time for this agreement to be put together in legislative form and brought to the floor of the House and Senate for a vote, and so I would expect the final vote on this to occur mid next week, but I do believe that we’ll have a – what we’ll call a bridge continuing resolution passed tonight to ensure that government’s open. As you all know, this has been a lot of discussion and a long fight, but we fought to keep government spending down because it really will, in fact, help create a better environment for job creators in our country.”))
Senate Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said the compromise was difficult but important for the country.
“We all agree that there are many cuts that have to take place in the future. We understand that. We must get this country’s fiscal house in order – but if the American people have to make tough choices – and they’re doing it every day – so should their leaders. That’s our responsibility – all 100 of us, and 435 members of the House.”
The Senate and the House of Representatives have passed the temporary funding measure, which is being sent to the president for his signature. A vote on the full budget is expected midweek. voa