President Barack Obama capped a year of political gridlock by signing into law a bipartisan budget deal on Thursday that eases spending cuts and puts off the chance of another government shutdown for at least two years.
The deal restores about $63 billion over two years to the Pentagon and other domestic agencies — about a third of the automatic cuts known as the sequester. It also includes some $85 billion in savings.
Obama also signed a milestone defense-spending bill designed to crack down on sexual assault in the military. That bill, which also drew support from both sides of the aisle, ends a policy that allowed commanders to overturn jury convictions for sexual assault. It also requires that members of the military found guilty of sexual assault to be dishonorably discharged or dismissed.
Still, the President will return to a new year that promises more political gridlock. Neither party appears willing to give ground on the borrowing limit expected to be reached by early March — Republicans demand concessions to raise the limit, and Democrats say they won’t negotiate. On top of that, the upcoming midterm congressional elections will impede on the Obama Administration’s priorities.