The House of Representatives easily
passed the budget bill that was the result of a dealbrokered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Sen.), clearing its biggest hurdle on the way to becoming law.
In a blowout, the House voted in favour of the legislation by a 332-94 margin. The bill now moves to the Senate, which is expected to vote on it next week.
It was a bipartisan vote in favour of the bill — 169 Republicans and 163 Democrats voted “yes.” Only 62 Republicans and 32 Democrats voted “no.”
The two-year budget deal has been hailed by bipartisan members of Congress and by President Barack Obama as a step toward ending the brutal fiscal fights that have become the norm in Washington over the past two years.
The mini-bargain — the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013” — sets discretionary spending levels a little above $US1 trillion for the next two years, while repealing and replacing some cuts of sequestration. In fiscal year 2014, spending is set at $US1.012 trillion, which sits about halfway between the proposed levels of the House and Senate budgets. Law under sequestration calls for caps of $US967 billion.
The legislation provides $US63 billion in sequester relief over two years, which is split evenly between defence and non-defence programs. This is offset by targeted spending cuts and non-tax revenues that total $US85 billion. Ryan and Murray said that the deal will reduce the deficit between $US20 and $US23 billion over a 10-year period.
The deal had faced staunch opposition from outside conservative groups, leading to heavy friction between the groups and House GOP leadership. Boehner has blasted the groups each of the past two days, criticising them for coming out against the deal before they even knew its details.
“When you criticise something and you have no idea what you’re criticising, you’ve lost your credibility,” Boehner said.
In a statement Thursday night, the White House hailed the House’s passage of the bill.
“The bipartisan agreement passed by the House today represents a positive step forward for the nation and our economy,” press secretary Jay Carney said.
“The President called on Congress to work together on a budget that grows our economy faster, creates more jobs and makes the investments needed to strengthen the middle class, rather than continue reckless across the board cuts that stifle growth. This bill does not include everything the President called for. But it marks an important moment of bipartisan cooperation and shows Washington can and should stop governing by crisis and both sides can work together to get things done.”
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