On Tuesday, the Senate cleared the path for a vote on a bipartisan budget deal that establishes a two-year framework for federal spending, thereby eliminating the threat of an impending government shutdown at least until 2016.
By a vote of 67-33, Senate Democrats surpassed the 60 votes needed to end debate on the bill; voting on the passage of the bill is expected Thursday. The legislation, which was drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), limits spending for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 at just over $1 trillion for each year, and is projected to save $28 billion over 10 years, including $22.5 billion in deficit reduction. It also replaces $63 billion in sequester cuts with other savings, and does not include an extension of unemployment benefits – a small defeat for Democrats.
Sen. Murray was hopeful of the prospects for the deal, calling it “the first of many bipartisan deals … [that] can rebuild some of the trust and bring Democrats and Republicans together and demonstrate that government can work for the people we all represent.” The measure enjoys the unilateral support of all Senate Democrats and 12 Senate Republicans.
The bill passed easily in the Republican-controlled House last week. President Obama has said he will sign the bill after legislative approval.