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Associated Press
Paul Ryan and Patty Murray announce the tentative budget agreement Tuesday.

Furthermore …

Trading satisfaction for stability on the budget

Maybe it’s that season-of-spirit-and-giving effect, but whatever allowed for a budget compromise in Washington, D.C. – we’ll take it.

The deal announced by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., sets a 2014 budget of $1.012 trillion, between the GOP’s offer of $967 billion and the Democrats’ proposal of $1.058 trillion. An additional $63 billion in sequester relief is divided down the middle between defense and non-defense spending.

It’s clear it’s a compromise because no one is thrilled with the two-year spending plan. Republicans increased deficit-reduction efforts without any tax increases, even as the timeline for spending cuts was extended further than they wanted. Democrats were able to protect entitlements, but unemployment insurance for 1.3 million Americans runs out three days after Christmas.

Voices on both ends of the political spectrum flogged the deal. John Nichols at the left-leaning Nation called the proposal “cruel and irresponsible,” while the conservative Club for Growth threatened GOP incumbents that their support for the deal would hurt them at the ballot box.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to his credit, quickly accused Club for Growth and others of fanning dissent as a means of fueling their own fundraising campaigns.

“They’re using our members and they’re using the American people for their own goals,” Boehner said. “This is ridiculous.”

Both Murray and Ryan hailed the agreement for the stability it promises – an opportunity to stop “lurching from crisis to crisis.” For Americans tired of the brinksmanship exercised in recent years, their proposal is a welcome holiday gift.

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