But the legislation includes provisions that will blunt the impact of the sequester. Within hours of the bill’s passage, the Defense Department announced that furlough notices scheduled to go out Friday to 800,000 civilian workers will be delayed until April 5.
That will give officials time to see whether the new budget will still require 22 unpaid days or could result in fewer lost days for workers.
Congress’s action also halted furloughs for thousands of meat inspectors by transferring $55 million from other agriculture programs to ensure meat and poultry plants stay open, agriculture officials said.
The meat lobby, as well as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, pressed the issue with Congress and the Obama administration, saying the furloughs threatened a multibillion-dollar industry and would have forced an increase in retail meat prices.
The House vote, which provides funding for the government for the six months starting March 28, came a day after the Senate approved the bill. It now goes to President Obama for his signature, ending a relatively smooth and drama-free process for a Congress that has repeatedly found itself deadlocked on spending issues.
Still, the measure covers only the next six months.
Lawmakers are debating how much to tax and spend for the years to come. On Thursday, the House also approved a budget blueprint by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in a mostly partisan 221 to 207 vote. Ten Republicans joined House Democrats in opposing the Ryan budget measure.
Ryan’s plan calls for balancing the budget over the decade by slicing $5 trillion from future spending, including by block-granting programs for the poor and overhauling Medicare for people 54 and younger.
Conservatives had insisted that the Ryan plan lock in a balanced budget within the next 10 years. His spending proposals of the past two years took at least 30 years to bring spending into line with government revenue.
Democrats slammed Ryan’s plan as too austere — particularly its proposal to end Medicare as a guaranteed benefit for seniors. They said voters defeated that idea in the presidential election in November.
The Ryan proposal clashes dramatically with a budget proposal offered by Senate Democrats that will face a vote as soon Friday.
The first budget put forward by Senate Democrats in three years, the proposal by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) would raise taxes by nearly $1 trillion over the next decade in an effort to stabilize deficits but would not balance the budget in that time.
Trying to reconcile those two visions will consume Washington in the coming months, as leaders warily look to the next fiscal showdown: the yet-to-be-determined deadline, somewhere in late summer, when the Treasury will be out of options to manage the federal debt and need congressional approval to increase its borrowing authority.