Congressional leaders have reached a tentative consensus on a budget deal that will fund the government through “most of 2016,” an agreement that includes tax-limiting measures favored by Republicans but is free of the kinds of hard-line provisions that have pushed legislators and President Obama to and past the brink of shutdowns in recent years. In 2013 a shutdown was triggered by some GOP legislators’ demands to defund Obamacare; similar threats were made, but not ultimately pursued, this year over issues such as Planned Parenthood and Syrian refugee admission. From the New York Times:
Throughout Tuesday, major components of the spending legislation appeared to be falling into place, including a tentative agreement to alter major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, delaying a planned tax on high-cost health insurance plans and suspending a tax on medical devices for two years.
(The high-cost health insurance tax that will be delayed is often called the “Cadillac tax.”)
On the issue of refugees, the Washington Post says that “new security requirements for a visa waiver program” will be included but that “the legislation does not include new restrictions that would prevent Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the country, a provision House Republicans had pushed to get in the bill.”
Notably, the final agreement is also expected to lift a 40-year-old ban on oil exports that was originally passed amid the OPEC-related energy crises of the 1970s. “In exchange for allowing this provision,” the Post says, “Democrats secured the extension of tax breaks for wind and solar energy producers for five years.”