UPDATE: Budget bill moves toward final passage in Senate

UPDATED Tuesday, December 17, 2013 --- 9:34 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A bipartisan budget bill that would ease some but not all of painful budget cuts that would otherwise slam the Pentagon and domestic agencies has passed a pivotal test in the Senate.

The Senate advanced the measure over a filibuster threshold on a 67-33 vote that ensures the measure will pass the Democratic-led chamber no later than Wednesday and head to the White House to be signed into law.

Top Senate Republicans opposed the bill, which won sweeping GOP support in the House.

The measure would ease for two years some of the harshest cuts to agency budgets required under automatic spending curbs commonly known as sequestration. It would replace $45 billion in scheduled cuts for the 2014 budget year already underway, easing about half of the scheduled cuts.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


UPDATED Tuesday, December 17, 2013 ---- 5:26 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Several conservative Senate Republicans have swung behind a bipartisan budget bill, apparently giving it enough momentum to win a pivotal test in the Senate over the passive resistance of top GOP leaders.

It'll take at least five Republicans to advance the measure Tuesday over a filibuster threshold demanded by GOP leaders. Announcements by Republicans Orrin Hatch, Johnny Isakson, Saxby Chambliss and others Monday that they would back that step appeared to seal enough GOP support to advance the measure.

The budget would ease some of the harshest cuts required under automatic spending curbs. It would replace $45 billion in scheduled cuts for the 2014 budget year, lifting agency budgets to a little more than $1 trillion and essentially freezing spending at those levels for 2015.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


UPDATED Thursday, December 12, 2013 ---- 8:11 a.m

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The co-architect of a new budget deal in Congress concedes the political accommodation is modest, but says it moves a fiscally challenged government "in the right direction."

Republican Rep. Paul Ryan tells "CBS This Morning" the deal he brokered with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state was the best possible at a time of "divided government."

The Wisconsin congressman went on the air Thursday to tout the agreement that, among other things, restores $63 billion in mandatory spending cuts.

Asked about harsh criticism from conservative groups, Ryan acknowledges "we were a little caught off guard."

House Speaker John Boehner angrily denounced two conservative groups Wednesday, saying anybody who believes in deficit reduction should support the deal.

Ryan says "nobody got everything they wanted, but we advanced our principles."

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2013 --- 4:53 p.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Negotiations on Capitol Hill have yielded a modest budget agreement to ease automatic spending cuts and replace some of them with savings from future-year cuts.

Details on the pact by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray were to be announced by the duo Tuesday evening.

The agreement would ease the harshest spending cuts set to strike the Pentagon and domestic agencies for a second year.

It would require federal workers to contribute more to their pensions, increase premiums on companies whose pension plans are insured by the federal government and increase security fees paid by airline travelers.

The pact by Ryan and Murray comes after several failed attempts at broader budget pacts.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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