Budget clears procedural hurdle in the Senate

December 17, 2013

A bipartisan deal to roll back sharp spending cuts known as the sequester easily cleared a procedural hurdle in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, ensuring that the agreement will be passed and sent to President Obama in the coming days.

Senators voted 67 to 33 to end debate and proceed to final passage on the budget agreement. A final vote could come as soon as Tuesday evening if Senate Republicans agree to speed things up. Otherwise, the chamber is likely to send the measure to the White House late Wednesday.

Passage of the budget measure was secured Monday when Sens. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah) and Johnny Isakson (Ga.) joined fellow Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Ronald H. Johnson (Wis.) in announcing they would help the Senate’s 55 Democrats assemble the 60 votes needed to clear a critical procedural vote and end debate on the budget measure.

The budget agreement, brokered by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), is intended to end nearly three years of acrimony over the budget in Washington. It would cancel half the sequester cuts for the current fiscal year, replace them with other savings and allow Congress to avert another government shutdown in January.

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Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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Aaron Blake | December 17, 2013