Budget Deal Drop in the Bucket of Problems

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Members of the U.S. Senate will take up the budget deal worked out between House Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democrat Sen. Patty Murray on Monday.

The future of the deal is uncertain. Members of the Republican-controlled House gave overwhelming approval to the budget plan, but supporters of the deal may need a "hail Mary" pass to win in the Senate.

"Our job is to find enough common ground to move the ball down the field on behalf of the American people who sent us here to do their work," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

Tea Party members oppose the agreement because it does little to address the issue of entitlements and out-of-control spending. The nation's debt now stands at more than $17 trillion.

Added to that, there's the increasingly ugly atmosphere in the Senate.

Senate Democrats recently invoked the so-called "nuclear option," changing Senate rules to prevent Republican filibusters of President Barack Obama's judicial nominees.

Republicans responded by slowing down Senate business. Even some Democrats say the nuclear option has poisoned the atmosphere in the higher chamber and created a somewhat dysfunctional, uncooperative Senate.

While the budget deal reverses some harsh spending cuts scheduled for 2014 and 2015, it leaves intact most of the roughly $1 trillion in automatic cuts set to hit the military, domestic agencies, and Medicare providers through 2021.

Former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., said the budget deal is, "a sparrow belch in the midst of a typhoon."

Simpson warned if Congress doesn't address health care, "and you don't deal with the solvency of social security for 75 years, you're failing your country."

"The president calls it a good first step, but to what?" Bob Bixby, with the Bipartisan Concord Coalition, said.

On "Meet the Press" Sunday, Rep. Ryan, R-Wis., one of the main architects of the proposed budget, said Congress will be asked to revise the tax code next year.

"I know what I think is the right thing to do. Getting a budget agreement that reduces the deficit without raising taxes and prevents two government shutdowns from occurring in 2014, in my opinion, is the right thing to do," he said, defending the budget deal.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he wants a vote within the next several days so senators can depart Washington and enjoy Christmas at home.

If it passes, Bixby said few Americans are likely to get excited because it will be a little like a child bringing home a "D" on his or her report card instead of an "F."

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