Senate Passes Budget Plan, Bill Heads To Obama's Desk For Signature
The vote for the spending plan in the House was 260-167. Fifty-nine Republicans--including 27 freshman members--broke ranks with party leaders and voted against the bill, mainly arguing that the cuts did not go far enough to reign in government spending. House Speaker John Boehner, however, got enough support from Democrats--81 voted for the bill--to pass the legislation. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi voted "no" on the bill.
The compromise budget bill was put together by President Obama, Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last week in order to avert a government shutdown.
Under the deal, $38.5 billion would be from the budget for the remainder the fiscal year, which ends September 30. Among other things, the package slashes funding from a wide range of domestic programs and services, including high-speed rail, emergency first responders, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
As part of the agreement, Congress is also scheduled to vote Thursday on measures to de-fund Planned Parenthood and Obama's health care overhaul.
"Does it cut enough? No," Boehner said on the floor. "Is it perfect? No. I'd be the first one to admit that it's flawed. Well, welcome to divided government."
Some conservatives are concerned over a report released by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office Wednesday that estimated the spending plan would only save $352 million from the budget this fiscal year. Additionally, the CBO said Thursday that while the measure reduces the authority of federal agencies to spend almost 40 billion, the total savings through this fiscal year are actually closer to $20-25 billion.
"There are some who claim that the spending cuts in this bill ... are gimmicks," Boehner said. "I just think it is total nonsense. A cut is a cut."
The measure now heads to President Obama for his signature.