The bigger impact of the deal is that it's a two-year budget. There won't be a government shutdown for two years. This is an even longer period than that covered by the August 2011 deal, which laid out the budget until after the next big election. Why is this for a longer period, instead of until after the next election? A good question to ponder.
The deal doesn't include debt ceiling increases. Why? To allow the Tea Party congressional members to do a bit of grandstanding and vote against the debt ceiling several times. The debt ceiling increases will pass with enough votes from Republicans and amid charges of RINOism and treason. Yawn.
The Tea Partyers and their organizations are trying to raise a ruckus over this deal, but John Boehner told them to shut up. Besides, it's a done deal because THE HOUSE ALREADY PASSED IT!!!!! Wow, that was fast, and was planned to be that way. The House gets to adjourn and soon the Senate will rubberstamp the deal too. And everyone goes home for Christmas unlike last year. If you're taking a Christmas trip to a national park or monument, they'll be open and staffed. [House vote: GOP 169-62, Dem 162 -32.]
The Tea Party is a clear loser in this. The only leverage they'll have is the very dangerous debt-default-no-debt-ceiling-increase gambit. Their numbers aren't high enough to carry out that dynamite trick, but they can still make noise about it. This article points out that Paul Ryan gains stature as an adult politician when you need one. No one is writing the same about Patty Murray (I just checked). She's still a hack in my book, but she can be a good little sock puppet for Harry Reid when he needs her.
So, what will the two parties do in the next two years? They could start the really tough negotiations on Medicare, Medicaid, and, to a lesser extent, Social Security. They could lob mudballs at each other for the next 11 months until the 2014 midterm elections. The GOP could continue its Cold Civil War, and it could completely explode. Since it doesn't take that many people to negotiate, we could have all this possibilities playing out at the same time. Any negotiations that occur will be only exploratory because each side will want to wait for the outcome of the midterm elections in hope for an improvement in their position. (I should clarify who might negotiate: the establishment GOP, the establishment Dems, certainly not the Tea Party GOP.)
This is a better outcome than I was expecting. They compromised without kicking and screaming, and actually changed the terms from the previous testy agreement. That shows a modicum of flexibility where I hadn't expected any. Wow. Merry Christmas, everyone. Peace on Earth, goodwill to men.