POLITICS

Obama Says Budget Deal Is Good First Step, Urges Congress To Act

President Barack Obama speaks in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, about the death
President Barack Obama speaks in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, about the death of Nelson Mandela. Obama says the world has lost an influential, courageous and 'profoundly good' man with the death of anti-apartheid icon Mandela. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday praised a bipartisan budget deal as a good start and urged the U.S. Congress to quickly pass a budget based on the accord.

"Today's bipartisan budget agreement is a good first step," Obama said in a statement. "I want to call on members of Congress from both parties to take the next step and actually pass a budget based on this agreement so I can sign it into law."

Obama praised elements of the deal, saying the modest rollback of the across-the-board "sequester" spending cuts would ease a drag on economic growth. He called the measure "balanced" because it increases government revenues and includes spending cuts he said would not hurt the economy.

He further gave a nod to long-fueding Democrats and Republicans for coming to terms and avoiding the brinkmanship that led to a government shutdown in October and a near-default in 2011.

"This agreement doesn't include everything I'd like - and I know many Republicans feel the same way," he said. "But it's a good sign that Democrats and Republicans in Congress were able to come together and break the cycle of short-sighted, crisis-driven decision-making to get this done."

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