April 14th, 2011
06:15 PM ET

Congress passes budget deal despite GOP defections

Alan Silverleib

Washington (CNN) - A budget deal reached last week to avert a government shutdown won approval Thursday from both the House and Senate, sending it to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The measure cuts $38.5 billion in spending while funding the government for the rest of the current fiscal year, which ends September 30. With its passage, the White House and Congress will now focus on what are expected to be more rancorous battles over a budget for fiscal year 2012 and the upcoming need to raise the federal debt limit.

A final-hour agreement last Friday in talks involving Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and House Speaker John Boehner included the spending cuts demanded by Republicans as a step toward controlling America's skyrocketing debt.

The measure passed the Republican-controlled House on a 260-167 vote. The bill would not have passed without support from members of both parties, as 59 members of the Republican majority opposed it, showing the challenge faced by Boehner in keeping his conservative Tea Party-infused caucus unified. amid politically perilous tax and spending negotiations with the Democrats.

The House vote also reflected growing liberal angst and anger over the impending spending reductions. Only 81 Democrats backed the measure; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, voted no.

In the Senate, the final vote was 81-19.

Under the deal, $38.5 billion would be from the budget for the remainder the fiscal year, which ends September 30. Among other things, the package slashes funding from a wide range of domestic programs and services, including high-speed rail, emergency first responders, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

As part of the agreement, Congress also voted Thursday on measures to de-fund Planned Parenthood and Obama's health care overhaul. As expected, both passed the House and were defeated in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

One point of concern for conservatives was a report released Wednesday by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office showing that of the $38.5 billion in savings, only $352 million will actually be realized this fiscal year. Boehner insisted Thursday that all of the cuts will take effect eventually, but conceded that the analysis "has caused some confusion" among House members.

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soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Arthur Gabriel

    The confusion that many have over WHY the Dem's have not dealt with the budget originally and why we have this issue AGAIN. This is a very familiar scenario, over the last twenty plus years both parties have crafted situations with the federal budget that have created a budget crisis requiring "desperate" actions while underneath are numerous caveats that provide special interests with ridiculous perks, such as the Spence bill to deregulate banks, or tax cuts to the wealthy, or gift tax credits, increasing the estate tax ceiling and the list goes on. In truth is – both parties collude to create these situations – they just posture and spin the whys in different ways to fool their voting base. Even considering the Corporate Dem's that derailed meaningful action (one of those immediately jumped ship to the Republicans – the reality is they were Republicans in Democrat clothing in the firstt place – I say this based on a RNC statement in 2008 that warned that candidates would be pretending to be Republicans who where really Dems? Why would anyone do that in 2008. The opposite was obviously true. The TEA PARTY – LOL – a few people show up at rallies with allot of angst, some were paid to be there, others where told to come to help re-market the GOP to swing voters with the concept it was a new GOP? Where are they now? Even after their candidates tripled the deficit again and hold up meaningful reform. These folks need a red cellophane bag over their head that says SUCKER. Forget the TEA PARTY – they were mostly a Madison Ave. hoax, just look at all the big business corrupt money behind these Tea Party groups, one now is lobbying for a corporation in SE Asia to have special tariff free privileges (as reported in IHT). Will corporate controlled media ever really cover all this honestly, or are they all like CBS News (remember that Al Pacino movie about big tobacco!) Have a nice day, thank you for listening.

    April 14, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  2. american tax payer

    Its time for all of us as american citizens to wake up. Our elected officials have been screwing us for years. They talk about cutting social security,and medicare when they should be cutting thier own salaries and benefits. Its time to set term limits and salary caps its also time for them to pay for insurance
    co-pays deductables and perscription drugs.
    Once they are out of office then all of thier benefits are over . Its also time to lock down all of our borders,and stop supporting yemen egypt baharan africa and any other place out side of our country .

    April 14, 2011 at 10:43 pm |