Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The House overwhelmingly passed Thursday a two-year bipartisan budget deal with a vote of 332-94.
A total 169 Republicans and 163 Democrats voted in favor of the bill that provides for $1.012 trillion budget in 2014 and $1.014 trillion in 2015. The bill, a result of earlier negotiations by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee chair Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), increases 2014 spending levels currently set at $967 billion by $63 billion. Spending caps for 2015 is also increased from $995 billion.
The increase will be offset by reducing military and federal pension benefits by $12 billion, imposing new user fees on air travel and food aid shipments to generate $13.6 billion, and extending cuts to Medicare for nine years to generate $28 billion.
The bill is likely to hurdle the Senate next week as Senate President Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday the Democrat-led chamber has the votes to send it to President Barack Obama for signing.
A Senate approval still requires Congress to prepare funding bills for each government agency during the holiday break, combine them into single omnibus budget bill and pass it before a temporary spending bill expires on Jan. 15 to prevent another government shutdown.
The federal government was forced to shut down from Oct. 1 to 16 after Congress failed to enact a budget law for fiscal year 2014, or a continuing resolution to temporarily fund government operation. A continuing resolution was passed on Oct. 17 ending the shutdown.