Senators have given final passage to a measure (Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act – H.R. 1473) that funds government programs for the remainder of this fiscal year by a vote of 81-19. A unanimous consent agreement required 60 votes for passage.
Prior to that action, members voted on two “correcting resolutions” to the budget measure. A unanimous consent agreement required 60 votes for either to pass.
According to the House Rules Committee, passage of one or both of these resolutions would have led the House Clerk to add such language as a “correction” to the final budget legislation.
The first resolution, H.Con.Res. 35, would have defunded the health reform law. It was defeated by a vote of 47-53.
The second, H.Con.Res. 36, would have banned funds for Planned Parenthood. It was defeated by a vote of 42-58.
The House having already passed this budget bill, it now goes to President Obama for his signature.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was able to reach a unanimous consent agreement earlier tonight that locked in votes tomorrow on the budget measure (H.R. 1473) to fund the government for the remainder of this fiscal year.
According to The Hill, Senators “will also vote on two resolutions, one to ban federal funds for Planned Parenthood, another to defund the new healthcare law.”
All votes will be subject to a 60-vote threshold for passage. They will begin shortly after the House finishes their work on the funding measure, which Senators hope will be in the afternoon.
A new “budget estimate released Wednesday shows that the spending bill negotiated between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner would produce less than 1 percent of the $38 billion in claimed savings by the end of this budget year,” the AP reports.
The Congressional Budget Office estimate shows that compared with current spending rates the spending bill due for a House vote Thursday would pare just $352 million from the deficit through Sept. 30. About $8 billion in cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid are offset by nearly equal increases in defense spending.
The CBO study confirms that the measure trims $38 billion in new spending authority, but many of the cuts come in slow-spending accounts like water-and-sewer grants that don’t have an immediate deficit impact.
The measure “appears on track to pass the House and Senate this week before a stopgap spending measure expires Friday at midnight despite opposition from some of the GOP’s most ardent budget cutters.”
Senator David Vitter (R-LA) has announced his intention “to vote against a newly negotiated spending bill that trims $38 billion in federal funding over the next six months,” the Times-Picayune reports.
Vitter said the cuts just don’t go far enough.
"I’m voting no on this budget deal because we need a far more meaningful start to saving our country from fiscal ruin," Vitter said. " In the eight days leading up to this deal, we racked up $54 billion in new debt–way more than the proposed cuts. And when you look at the details of the cuts, even that $38 billion isn’t real. We must do far better."
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is “lamenting a budget omission he said would hit his state’s economy hard,” Talking Points Memo reports. This is in relation to a provision not included in the final budget deal to fund the government for the remainder of this fiscal year.
In fact, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was down right incensed over the decision not to include a mere $50,000 for an Army Corps of Engineers study on deepening the Port of Charleston in his home state and vowed to "tie the Senate in knots" by holding up Obama administration nominations.
Graham started a string of angry tweets about the omission early Monday. By the end of the day, he had held a press conference on the issue in Charleston, S.C., and was blaming the Obama administration for failing to include the funding in its budget proposal released in February, arguing that 260,000 jobs are tied to the port.
"Obama Admin made a bad mistake not putting money for CHS port in their budget proposal," he wrote.
"No nominations go forward in Senate until we address CHS port," he tweeted, noting that the provision was not an earmark and applied to a dozen ports across the U.S.