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December 11. 2013 11:11PM

NH reps eyeing budget deal

The four members of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation were reviewing the compromise budget deal announced late Tuesday on Capitol Hill and were non-committal Wednesday on how they would vote on the package.
 
U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter was “very concerned” and U.S. Rep. Ann Kuster was disappointed that the deal did not include an extension of unemployment benefits, according to spokesmen.

But both Democrats were reviewing the compromise plan’s details and could not say how they would vote when the measure goes to the House floor, which could be as early as today.

Both congresswomen joined with 164 other lawmakers in a letter urging House Speaker John Boehner not to adjourn the House for the year without allowing a vote to extend emergency unemployment compensation, which is due to expire on Dec. 28.
 
Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said she was encouraged by the fact that the deal would replace across-the-board budget cuts that have been taking place under the current sequester.

“I look forward to reviewing the details,” she said, adding, “We can’t afford to keep harmful, indiscriminate budget cuts in place or chance another government shutdown because both are bad for jobs, small businesses and our economy.”

A spokesman for Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said the senator “is reviewing the legislation and talking with her colleagues. She believes we must end the cycle of short-term budgeting, and she will continue to carefully study the details of this proposal.”

The deal announced Tuesday night by Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan sets federal spending at $1.012 trillion in fiscal 2014 and $1.014 trillion in fiscal 2015.

According to reports, the agreement replaces $63 billion in sequester cuts with a combination of other savings, and includes an additional $22.5 billion in deficit reduction.
 
House Democrats tried unsuccessfully to include in the compromise an extension of unemployment benefits. According to reports, benefits affecting 1.3 million long-term unemployed workers are set to expire if Congress does not act.

Shea-Porter’s office said failure to extend unemployment insurance would mean 1,300 Granite Staters will lose “vital benefits” on Dec. 28 and “an additional 3,900 New Hampshire workers would lose their benefits in the first six months of 2014 if Congress doesn’t act.”

Ryan and Murray said unemployment benefits were not part of their deal, and would need to be settled separately.

jdistaso@unionleader.com


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