Courtesy: Getty Images
Susan Davis, USA Today
WASHINGTON - The U.S. House overwhelmingly approved, 332-94, a
two-year bipartisan budget framework Thursday that will eliminate the
threat of a government shutdown and modestly reduce the deficit over the
Nearly equal numbers of Republicans, 169, and Democrats, 163, supported the agreement.
see this as a step in the right direction on the way toward our
ultimate goal," said House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who
crafted the deal with Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash.
said Republicans need to face the realities of divided government and
focus on governing--and winning elections-if they hope to advance more
fiscally conservative proposals in the future.
The agreement sets
top-line federal spending figures through fiscal year 2015 and partially
alleviates unpopular spending cuts known as the sequester. Federal
spending on defense and domestic programs will be capped at $1.012
trillion in fiscal year 2014, and $1.014 trillion for fiscal year 2015.
It does not affect spending on entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.
the legislation passed with GOP and Democratic support, neither side
expressed enthusiasm about the scope of the deal. "We fought it to a
draw," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. She said the
deal would allow Congress to move on and debate other issues beyond the
fiscal disagreements that have defined the previous three years.
"Let's get to it. Let's get her off the table. Let's move on to addressing specific issues," she said.
Republicans largely lined up behind Ryan, despite ongoing opposition
from outside conservative groups and GOP senators. House Speaker John
Boehner, R-Ohio, denounced the efforts to derail the deal, accusing
groups such as Heritage Action, FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth of
"misleading their followers."
"Frankly, I just think that they've lost all credibility," Boehner told reporters.
comments ratcheted up an ongoing rhetorical fight between the groups
and congressional Republicans. FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe
responded: "When it comes to 'credibility,' actions speak louder than
words. And right now, it looks like the speaker is leading the charge
for spending increases and recruiting Democrat votes in the House to
help get it done."
A vote on the package is expected next week in
the Senate, but Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., cautioned
Thursday that Democrats will need at least five Republicans to support
the package to ensure they can overcome a filibuster threat. So far, GOP
senators who have publicly stated their position are opposed, including
Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas,
Mike Lee of Utah, and the top Republican on the Budget Committee, Jeff
Sessions of Alabama.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has not yet said how he intends to vote.
Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has not said how he intends to vote.