Breaking News: Senate Ends Budget DebateBy: Toni Matthews-El - December 17, 2013
After weeks of concern that we were headed for yet another government shutdown, it seems that might not be the case at all. A bipartisan effort to bring the budget debate to a final vote suggests there’s a chance the majority of senators may approve the latest version of the proposed budget.
The New York Times reports that a 67-33 vote ended the latest rounds of debates on government spending. It’s hoped that by the end of the week, a final version will be sent to President Obama.
The new budget deal would raise spending to over $1 trillion dollars, meant to offset a series of controversial budget cuts. For instance, there was a great deal of anger from senators and veterans rights groups over the bill’s proposal to shave several billion dollars off of veteran benefits.
But Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin says that these cuts are “extremely modest”. In addition, it’s expected that the affected retirees would receive a one-time increase in benefits, resulting in little or no real impact.
As for the possibility of the final vote resulting in passage, supporters of the budget deal are optimistic. Despite easy passage through the House, the bill ran into trouble in the Senate. Soon after, a great deal of pressure was applied to Republicans to come around. It’s looking now like enough have to avoid a potential filibuster.
Says chief opponent of the bill, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, “The truth of the matter is, we’re probably going to lose this fight.” He vows that even though the bill looks likely to pass, he will continue to contest spending changes and key budget cuts.
Meanwhile, Senate majority leader Harry Reid called for senators to come together and sensible close to the matter of a budget in a calm and sensible manner. “The legislation should help break a terrible cycle of governing by crisis.”
He hopes the plan will be approved by Wednesday.
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