Budget Agreement on Way to Senate

The two-year budget agreement is on course to reach President Obama’s desk soon, after the House easily approved the package Wednesday by a 266-167 vote before sending it to the Senate for consideration.

The Senate likely will hold a procedural vote Friday on the measure and move to final passage over the weekend or Monday. That chamber also is expected to pass the bill, which would increase defense spending by $56 billion over fiscal 2016 and 2017 and extend the nation’s debt limit through March 2017, reported CQ.

The White House voiced its support for the package on Wednesday, urging Congress to quickly approve the agreement.

In the House, the measure passed with support from all 187 Democrats but just 79 Republicans, and followed a vote by the GOP to nominate Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to replace John Boehner as House speaker. To pay for raising the discretionary spending caps by a total of $80 billion in FY 2016 and 2017, the measure includes cuts to entitlement programs, fee increases and other revenue gains.

With topline spending levels established, House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) said his committee would immediately begin preparing an omnibus spending package for FY 2016.

“We start to work on [the omnibus] tomorrow, staff-wise, to work with the Senate … and then tomorrow and this weekend we develop a timetable,” Rogers told reporters after the House vote. The current continuing resolution runs out on Dec. 11.

Dan Cohen
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