Murray-Ryan: Senate ends suspense, votes for cloture on budget deal.

Senate Ends Suspense, Ready to Pass Budget Deal

Senate Ends Suspense, Ready to Pass Budget Deal

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Dec. 17 2013 10:48 AM

Senate Ends Suspense, Ready to Pass Budget Deal

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) hold a press conference to announce a bipartisan budget deal, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013

Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

The Senate this morning cleared the way for the Ryan-Murray budget deal to reach President Obama's desk this week, via Politico:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.

The chamber agreed 67-33 to cut off debate on the budget agreement reached by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) last week. ...
The deal sets discretionary spending at $1.012 trillion for the current fiscal year and $1.014 trillion in fiscal 2015. It raises revenue through fee increases but there are no tax hikes or entitlement reforms, demands that had thrown wrenches in previous fiscal talks. Another round of sequester cuts due to take effect in January will be replaced with more targeted spending cuts. The bill doesn’t extend unemployment benefits that expire at the end of the month or address the debt ceiling, which will likely have to be raised sometime next spring.

The House easily passed the deal last week, 332-94, despite vocal opposition from Heritage Action, the Club for Growh and some other outside conservative groups (opposition that, you may remember, prompted John Boehner to lash out at said groups). Given the bipartisan nature of the House vote, the deal's fate in the Senate was never really in doubt, although the bill had, in the words of the New York Times, "run into a toxic mix of re-election politics, presidential positioning and hurt feelings" in the upper chamber over the past few days. Today's vote, however, makes final passage pretty much a sure thing. A final vote could come later today, or tomorrow at the latest.

While the vote is being hailed as something of a ceasefire in Washington's fiscal wars, it's worth remembering that the deal doesn't lift the debt ceiling, meaning we're likely in for another fight over that—and, of course, Obamacare—in the not-too-distant future.

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