Obama signs bipartisan budget deal easing cuts

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama look to each other as President Obama speaks to members of the military and their families in Anderson Hall at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. The first family is in Hawaii for a family holiday vacation. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Photo Credit: AP

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HONOLULU - President Barack Obama has signed a bipartisan budget bill easing automatic spending cuts over two years, marking a modest end to a challenging year for the White House and Congress.

Obama signed the bill Thursday while vacationing in Hawaii. The deal reduces across-the-board cuts already scheduled to take effect, restoring about $63 billion over two years. It includes a projected $85 billion in other savings.

It's not the grand bargain that Obama and congressional Republicans once had wanted, but it ends the cycle of fiscal brinkmanship for now, by preventing another government shutdown for nearly two years.

The bill signing marks one of Obama's last official acts in a year beset by the partial government shutdown, a near-default by the Treasury, a calamitous health care rollout and near-perpetual congressional gridlock.

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