House approves spending measure, sending it to the Senate

A large bloc of House conservatives voted Wednesday against a $1.1 trillion spending plan to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year, saying that the new bipartisan agreement fails to scale back the new health-care law or dramatically pay down the national debt.

But the spending bill easily passed the House 359 to 67 with broad support from both Republicans and Democrats. The omnibus measure moves next to the Senate, where it is expected to pass easily before heading to President Obama for his signature.

Adopted 359-67, the measure funds the government through the fiscal year. (The Associated Press)

The agreement unveiled late Monday restores federal spending to levels set in the final years of the George W. Bush administration, restores about $20 billion in funding to the Pentagon budget but mandates more spending cuts at domestic agencies.

But 64 Republicans -- most of them ardent fiscal conservatives -- voted against the final agreement. Among the Republicans opposed to the measure were five members running for U.S. Senate seats -- Reps. Paul Broun (Ga.), Phil Gingrey (Ga.) and Jack Kingston (Ga.), who face each other in a GOP primary; Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who is running against Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.); and Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who is running for an open Senate seat.

Three Democrats also voted against the spending measure -- Raul Grijalva (Ariz.), Rush Holt (N.J.) and Mike McIntyre (N.C.).

The vote tally exceeded the House's final vote on the bipartisan budget blueprint passed last month.

Government funding was set to expire later tonight, but the Senate approved a three-day extension around midday in order to give the slower-moving chamber more time to move the bill through procedural hurdles. Senators are expected to vote on the measure by Friday.

The House unanimously approved the extension on Tuesday, but 14 Republican senators voted against the extension out of concern that leaders were needlessly rushing debate on the more than 1,500-page agreement.

“If anyone wants to know why the nation is in fiscal trouble, look no further than the massive omnibus bill being jammed through Congress currently,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said after voting against the extension.

 

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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