Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has yet to see the 144-page document that details the tentative budget agreement between Congress and the White House. Grassley, a Republican, says the announcement was made around midnight when he and most of his staff were asleep.
“What’s probably positive about it is the sense that we’re reaching a bipartisan agreement before the limit on debt runs out,” Grassley says. “Whether or not I can vote for it, we’ll have to wait and see what the contents are.” The agreement aims to set government spending levels for the next two years while extending the nation’s debt limit through 2017.
“Shutting down government is not an option when you have a big budget deficit,” Grassley says. “It costs money to shut down the government and it costs money to open up the government. You shouldn’t do fiscally irresponsible things like shutting down the government and adding to the national debt.” The current funding plan for the federal government is set to expire on December 11th, while the debt limit deadline will arrive next week, November 3rd. Grassley is withholding judgment on the tentative budget deal.
“The biggest question is, what does it do for the long term?” Grassley says. “If we do this, a year and a half from now, are we going to have to increase the national debt again? That’s the big item. Does it do anything long term about the fiscal condition of the federal government?”
A vote could come in the U.S. House as soon as tomorrow. Congressman Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, is considered likely to be elected on Thursday as the new House Speaker.