Paul Ryan Patty Murray
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have reached an agreement on a budget deal that would avert a repeat of October's government shutdown. 
Murray and Ryan chair the Senate and House budget committees and are the lead negotiators for their parties on the agreement.
The mini-bargain — the "Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013" — sets discretionary spending levels a little above $1 trillion for the next two years, while repealing and replacing some cuts of sequestration. In fiscal year 2014, spending is set at $1.012 trillion, which sits about halfway between the proposed levels of the House and Senate budgets. 
The legislation provides $63 billion in sequester relief over two years, which is split evenly between defense and non-defense programs. This is offset by other cuts in the budget. Ryan and Murray said that the deal reduces the deficit between $20 million and $23 million.
The preliminary agreement still has to pass both chambers of Congress before Jan. 15 to avoid another shutdown.
Over the past two days, conservative opposition has ramped up to the prospect of the deal because of its proposed higher-spending levels, signaling that the legislation could face some trouble passing the House of Representatives. Ryan, however, said that he expects the legislation to pass the House by a "healthy vote." He said that the House leadership team is "supportive of this."
House Speaker John Boehner applauded the deal. 
"While modest in scale, this agreement represents a positive step forward by replacing one-time spending cuts with permanent reforms to mandatory spending programs that will produce real, lasting savings," Boehner said in a statement.