President Barack Obama appears poised to sign the two-year federal budget deal, passed Wednesday in the Senate by a 64-36 vote. After Wednesday's final budget vote in the Senate, Obama said he is
pleased with the package, although it does not include an extension of
Nine Republican senators voted for the bipartisan budget deal, negotiated by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI,1). The measure passed the House last week by a 332-94 vote. The budget vote in the House and Senate moves the ball forward for
appropriators to cobble together a spending package for the current
fiscal year, which Congress will have to sign off on to avert a
government shutdown after January 15.
The budget plan, which sets overall spending levels for fiscal year 2014 and 2015,
trims sequester cuts by $63 billion over two years and
includes $85 billion in total savings over 10 years, while also
providing $23 billion in deficit reduction.
“If we didn’t get a
deal, we would have faced another continued resolution that would have
locked in those damaging cuts or worse — a potential government shutdown
in just a few weeks,” Murray said on the Senate floor
during Tuesday's debate. “It is a step in the right direction and a
dramatic improvement of the status quo.”
Among other things, the budget plan hikes airline passenger fees to $5.60 per ticket, up from the current amount of $2.50. Future Medicare fees would also be slashed by $28 billion. The plan also reduces future federal employee retirement benefits and military retiree benefits by $6 billion each, the latter of which has caused a recent squabble among lawmakers. Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI), however, is
spearheading an effort in the Senate to try and reverse the military cuts
before they kick in by 2015.
Obama released the following statement Wednesday evening after the Senate vote:
pleased that with tonight's vote in the Senate, for the first time in
years, both parties in both houses of Congress have come together to
pass a budget.
It's a budget that unwinds some of the damaging
sequester cuts that have harmed students and seniors and acted as
headwinds our businesses had to fight. It clears a path for critical
investments in things like education and research that have always grown
our economy and strengthened the middle class. And it will continue to
reduce our deficits at a time when we've seen four of the fastest years
of deficit reduction since the end of World War II.
it's a good first step away from the shortsighted, crisis-driven
decision-making that has only served to act as a drag on our economy. It
helps chart our economic course for the next two years, which means
that the American people won't be exposed to another painful and unwise
But there is much more work to do to ensure
our economy works for every working American. For one, Congress should
pass an extension of unemployment insurance so more than a million
Americans don't lose a vital lifeline as they fight to find a job.
Today, Senators Reed and Heller introduced a bipartisan solution that
would prevent a lapse in benefits that would hurt these families and
deal an unnecessary blow to our economy, and I urge Congress to act.
thank Democratic and Republican leaders from the House and Senate who
have worked hard to get this budget done and look forward to the
Congress sending me bills that fund our government and refrain from
fighting old ideological battles. And I hope this spirit of cooperation
will continue into the New Year as we work to restore opportunity and
broad-based growth for every American.