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Chastened by the backlash to the previous government shutdown, Republican leaders dropped demands for dramatic spending cuts and overhauls of health insurance, although their right wing remains unconvinced. Democrats, eager for positive news after the stumbles of the new health care program, put aside their calls for higher tax revenue. The modest agreement that resulted will roll back across the board cuts Congress itself passed as a punitive measure. It replaces them with targeted savings and new revenue from fees and sales, allowing spending to increase over the next two years by $62 billion without changing the path of deficit reduction.
- The economy, which stands to expand more rapidly with renewed public spending.
- Oil companies, who can now work with Mexico’s state oil company to explore deep water reserves in the Gulf of Mexico thanks to a diplomatic agreement approved in the bill.
- Defense contractors with appropriations restored.
- Recipients of government services and government employees who won’t be laid off.
- Companies with public pensions will need to pay more to insure them.
- Fliers, who will need to pay a little extra to fund the Transportation Security Administration for its services.
- Fraudsters, who will have a harder time accessing the “death master file” to collect a deceased person’s pension.
- The long-term unemployed, some 2 million of whom will lose their benefits in the new year without action—even as a new measures to collect unemployment overpayments are part of the cost-savings package.
- In the long-term, economic growth, absent new investments in infrastructure and shrinking funding for research and development.