Senate Has Enough Support for Key Budget Test Vote Today

December 16, 2013 11:04 PM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Senate to likely clear bipartisan budget accord Wednesday

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

The bipartisan sequester replacement deal passed by the House Dec. 12 picked up a major endorsement Dec. 16, with the backing of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) repeated his intention to bring the agreement (HJRes 59) up for a key procedural vote early this morning. That vote, with a 60-vote super-majority needed to eventually allow the bill to come to a simple-majority up-or-down vote later in the week, was expected to be a close one.

The crossover votes for cloture are expected from Republicans John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Susan Collins of Maine and Hatch. "The reality is that Republicans only control one-half of one-third of government. Ultimately, this agreement upholds the principles conservatives stand for and, with Democrats controlling the White House and the Senate, it is the best we could hope for," Hatch said in a statement.

If the deal survives the procedural vote today, as most believe, it is expected to easily clear a final passage vote later in the week. All members of the Democratic Caucus, including two independents, Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, are expected to side with their party.

Aides predict final passage — which requires only a simple majority to clear — on Wednesday, unless Republicans agree to move it up.

President Barack Obama has already said he would sign the legislation that would increase discretionary spending by $63 billion over the next two years. The law will allow appropriators to work toward assembling an omnibus Fiscal 2014 spending package by the time Congress returns in January.

Comments: Appropriators have already begun work on individual spending measures, with a separate USDA spending measure likely to be one of the few not wrapped into an omnibus spending package.


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.



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