Opinion | Politics

Mark Trahant: Deal makes another fiscal cliff debate inevitable





"President Barack Obama said his priority was keeping the current income tax rates in place for most Americans. The deal that passed Congress yesterday did just that. It raised taxes on people making more than $400,000 and pushed the fight over spending back to another day.

For Indian Country the deal is important for several reasons. First, it puts off the sequester until March. That will give agencies, tribes and individuals, time to prepare. The odds are that every federally-funded program will have to shrink and that federal employees will be looking at some kind of furlough in 2013. The deal also keeps the Special Diabetes Program for Indians going at its current funding level. (I would argue that this program is important for all Americans because figuring out how to reduce diabetes is a critical part of the budget picture. Diabetes is the most expensive disease in America and its growth in the general population is an epidemic to be.) The deal also extends unemployment insurance. The bill also authorized the farm bill for another nine months. And did something about the cuts in payments to doctors under Medicare by delaying for a year automatic cuts, but getting hospitals to pick up part of the cost. "

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The deal, the mess, and a look ahead (Mark Trahant 1/2)

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