The Senate moved closer to passing the bipartisan budget agreement Tuesday, invoking cloture on a 67-33 vote and setting up final passage for later this week.
A dozen Republicans joined Democrats to clear the 60-vote threshold needed to invoke cloture and send the bill to the floor, where it is expected to pass easily, likely on Wednesday, when just a majority is needed.
“This deal is a compromise, and it doesn’t tackle every one of the challenges we face as a nation. But that was never our goal,” Sen. Patty Murray said on the Senate floor shortly before the vote. “This bipartisan bill takes the first steps toward rebuilding our broken budget process. And, hopefully, toward rebuilding our broken Congress.”
With Democratic leadership backing the deal brokered by Murray, the cloture vote represented the last chance Senate Republicans had to derail the budget agreement over their concerns, which include busting the Budget Control Act caps and making cuts to military retirement accounts.
But Republicans reasoned that blocking the deal would amount to shutting down the government again come January, because of the difficulty of passing any spending framework through the divided Congress and a Democratic White House. The wide margin in last week’s House vote, in which a majority of Republicans approved it, also gave Senate Republicans cover to vote in favor of the bill.
The Republicans who supported the cloture vote were Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee; Roy Blunt of Missouri; Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson of Georgia; Susan Collins of Maine; Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona; Orrin Hatch of Utah; John Hoeven of North Dakota; Ron Johnson of Wisconsin; Lisa Murkowski of Alaska; and Rob Portman of Ohio. Several of those senators have already indicated that they will not vote for the final bill, although that will not pose a danger to the agreement.
Some Democrats worried that the final deal did not include an extension of unemployment insurance benefits, which expire shortly after Christmas, but their opposition wasn’t enough to stop the deal from moving forward. Majority Leader Harry Reid has said the Senate will take up the issue when the Senate returns from the holiday break.
With the White House signaling its approval of the measure, Congress will turn to the appropriations process next. The House and Senate Appropriations Committee chairmen — Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., and Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. — have already begun stitching together an omnibus spending bill. Mikulski said her committee will meet the Jan. 15 deadline to fund the government.
What We're Following See More »
"Two Republicans intimately familiar with Bill Kristol’s efforts to recruit an independent presidential candidate to challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have told Bloomberg Politics that the person Kristol has in mind is David French -- whose name the editor of the Weekly Standard floated in the current issue of the magazine.
French is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to the website of National Review, where French is a staff writer, he is a constitutional lawyer, a recipient of the Bronze Star, and an author of several books who lives in Columbia, Tenn., with his wife Nancy and three children."
California Gov. Jerry Brown endorsed Hillary Clinton today, calling her "the only path forward to win the presidency and stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump." While praising Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign, Brown said "Clinton’s lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown – by millions of votes – that they want her as their nominee. ... This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other. The general election has already begun."
In a New York Magazine profile, Hillary Clinton said she still encounters misogyny at her own events: “‘I really admire you, I really like you, I just don’t know if I can vote for a woman to be president.’ I mean, they come to my events and then they say that to me.”
Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”