Businesses Express Relief With Approval of Federal Budget Deal

Organizations representing Maryland’s federal installations and businesses expressed relief after a two-year budget deal was struck in Congress last week. The deal will lift spending caps previously approved by Congress and raise the federal government debt limit.

As reported by the Baltimore Sun,

“To know that there’s a budget deal and that we have that behind us … is for a lot of us a feeling of relief,” said Jill McClune, president of the Army Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for Aberdeen Proving Ground and counts many contractors among its members.

The article further describes the components of the deal.

The package lifts caps on the appropriated spending passed by Congress by $50 billion in 2016 and $30 billion in 2017, evenly divided between defense and domestic spending. Another $16 billion or so would come each year in the form of inflated war spending, evenly split between the Defense and State departments.

The agreement also raises the government debt limit through March 2017, removing the threat of an unprecedented national default on Nov. 3.

The two-year agreement would avert a looming shortfall in the Social Security disability trust fund that threatened to slash benefits, and head off an unprecedented increase in Medicare premiums for outpatient care for about 15 million beneficiaries.

Cuts include curbs on Medicare payments for outpatient services provided by certain hospitals and an extension of a 2-percentage-point cut in Medicare payments to doctors through the end of a 10-year budget. There’s also a drawdown from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and savings reaped from a Justice Department fund for crime victims that involves assets seized from criminals.

For more information, read the full Baltimore Sun article.