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Welch Supports New 2-Year, $80 Billion Budget Deal

Lauren Victoria Burke
Rep. Peter Welch, shown here at a hearing in March, 2015, says the new two-year, $80 billion budget deal is an acceptable compromise but is disappointed that a long-term transportation bill is not included.

Rep. Peter Welch is supporting a new proposed two-year budget deal that increases federal spending by $80 billion over the next two years.

Welch says he hopes the agreement will bring a new bipartisan approach to the business of the House.

For the past few weeks, House Republican leaders and the Obama Administration have been secretly working on the agreement.

It was outgoing House Speaker John Boehner's strong desire to have these budget issues settled before he steps down from office later this week.

Welch says that on balance, the plan represents an acceptable compromise by all sides in this debate. Mostly important, he says it moves Congress away from the harmful impact of sequestered budgets.

"This agreement I think is a major breakthrough,” Welch said. “Because now Congress will be allowed and empowered to actually pass budgets and do a line-by-line budget appropriation process, that (has) been on suspension." 

The budget deal would avoid a federal government shutdown over efforts to raise the nation's debt ceiling for the next two years.

Welch praised Speaker Boehner for taking a leadership role in putting this deal together.

"What he did is take off the agenda two steps that have been very destructive: The threat of defaulting on our national debt, of going into default; and the threat of shutdown. What he said, is that has cleared the deck until 2017 and it means we can get back to the business of legislating," Welch explained.

"Now Congress will be allowed and empowered to actually pass budgets and do a line-by-line budget appropriation process, that (has) been on suspension." - Rep. Peter Welch

On Thursday, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan is expected to be elected as the next House Speaker. Welch hopes this change of leadership will help create a bipartisan atmosphere in the House on many key issues.

“I think it can give Paul Ryan some confidence that he's got Democrats who are willing to work with him,” Welch said. “If he's willing to work with us."

Welch says he's disappointed that the new budget deal doesn't include a long-term transportation bill. The House is scheduled to consider that proposal before the end of November.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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