The House of Representatives on a strong bipartisan vote passed the two-year budget agreement negotiated by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee, and Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, that would eliminate the threat of another government shutdown and allow for the passage of the fiscal year 2014 appropriation bills.
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The overall federal budget for fiscal year 2014 will be $1.012 trillion and $1.014 trillion for fiscal year 2015. The agreement replaces $63 billion in sequester cuts with a combination of other savings, and includes an additional $22.5 billion in deficit reduction. The agreement authorizes USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to collect fees of up to $150 per conservation plan to cover costs of providing technical assistance to farmers and landowners. USDA is given authority to waive the fees for beginning farmers, limited resource producers, underserved groups and socially disadvantaged producers. The agreement increases aviation security fees; higher premiums for companies whose pensions are supported by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation; extends the Medicare cuts pursuant to sequestration for two years to include 2022 and 2023; reduces federal pension benefits for civilian employees hired in 2014 or later and military retirees.