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Big Budget Deal Could Break D.C. Impasse

With a deadline nearing for a Federal budget deal, we’ll look at what it’s going to take to get the deal done. Plus, we listen to President Barack Obama’s tribute to Nelson Mandela.

In this Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Senate Budget Committee Chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., arrive at a Congressional Budget Conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. The two Congressional leaders are said to be close to finalizing a two-year budget plan. (AP)

In this Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Senate Budget Committee Chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., arrive at a Congressional Budget Conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. The two Congressional leaders are said to be close to finalizing a two-year budget plan. (AP)

We’ve become accustomed to federal budget battles so hard fought, so brutal, that they shake the nation.  Shut down the government.  Send blood pressures spiraling.  This month’s budget talks have been different.  Very quiet.  Under cover.  Just two negotiators at the heart of the back and forth.  Democrat Patty Murray from the Senate.  Republican Paul Ryan from the House.  Hammering out the outline of a deal.  It’s not the deal to end all deals.  There is big tension over long term unemployment benefits and more.  But a deal itself is a big deal lately.  This hour On Point:  federal budget realities.

– Tom Ashbrook


Jake Sherman, Congressional reporter for Politico. (@JakeSherman)

Heather Boushey, executive director and chief economist at the Center for American Progress’ Washington Center For Equitable Growth. (@HBoushey)

Douglas Holtz-Eakinpresident of the American Action Forum. (@djheakin)

From Tom’s Reading List

Politico: Paul Ryan’s bipartisan budget moment? — “Over the next few weeks, as Congress pushes up against the December recess, Ryan’s influence in the Capitol will be put to a test. He will have to play a major role in convincing the same House Republican Conference that triggered a government shutdown to pass a budget agreement that doesn’t drastically change Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs — the longstanding goal of Speaker John Boehner’s majority.”

Washington Post: Budget deal expected this week amounts to a cease-fire as sides move to avert a standoff — “The deal expected to be sealed this week on Capitol Hill would not significantly reduce the debt, now $17.3 trillion and rising. It would not close corporate tax loopholes or reform expensive health-care and retirement programs. It would not even fully replace sharp spending cuts known as the sequester, the negotiators’ primary target.After more than two years of constant crisis, the emerging agreement amounts to little more than a cease-fire. Republicans and Democrats are abandoning their debt-reduction goals, laying down arms and, for the moment, trying to avoid another economy-damaging standoff.”

Wall Street Journal: Lawmakers: Jobless-Benefits Fight Won’t Derail Budget Deal — “Several Democrats are pushing to vote on an extension this week in the Senate, though how to pay for it remains an issue. Congress has opted at times in the past to renew the 2008 benefits without offsetting their cost through tax increases or spending cuts. On the budget front, officials close to the talks have said Ms. Murray and Mr. Ryan are closing in on a deal that would allow spending of roughly $1 trillion in each of the next two years. The mid-October agreement to end the partial government shutdown tasked the budget group with coming up with a budget plan for the rest of the 2014 fiscal year by Friday.”

President Obama Pays Tribute To Nelson Mandela

Tens of thousands of South Africans gathered in the rain at a soccer stadium in Johannesburg today, joining world leaders to honor Nelson Mandela.  He died last Thursday at 95.  A roar of cheers met President Obama as he rose to speak:  “To the People of South Africa—people of every race and every walk of life—the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us,” he said.

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Dec 18, 2014
This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)

Following months of secret talks the US will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than fifty years.

Dec 18, 2014
A poster for the movie "The Interview" is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP)

A big Sony hack gets weirder and wider. And Hollywood and Homeland Security are on edge.

Dec 17, 2014
Germany's Andre Schuerrle, left, celebrates scoring his side's 6th goal as Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar reacts during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Brazil and Germany at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Tuesday, July 8, 2014.  Germany went on to win the World Cup championship later that month. (AP)

From the Sochi Olympics and Ray Rice to Lebron’s return to Cleveland, we’ll unpack a big year in sports.

Dec 17, 2014
Relatives of a victim of a Taliban attack in a school, mourn over her lifeless body at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing and wounding scores, officials said, in the highest-profile militant attack to hit the troubled region in months. (AP)

The Taliban take responsibility for killing more than 100 Pakistani schoolchildren. We ask why there, why now.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

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Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

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Quinn Sullivan, LIVE In Our Studio
Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014

Fifteen-year old Quinn Sullivan is a humble, “ordinary” high school sophomore. But he’s also a blues guitar phenom. He brought his talents to the On Point studio today.

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