Politics News Alert
Congressional negotiators late Monday unveiled a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill that would fund federal agencies through the rest of the fiscal year and end the lingering threat of another government shutdown.
The spending bill puts flesh on the bones of a bipartisan budget deal struck in December, when Republicans and Democrats agreed to partially repeal sharp spending cuts known as the sequester.
By Manu Raju and Jake Sherman
House GOP leaders have been eager to lock down support from their party to back the bipartisan budget deal and avoid yet another round of fiscal crises.
That message appears to have gotten lost in the Capitol Rotunda.
In the Senate, Republican leaders and senior GOP senators are balking at the budget deal, arguing that it hikes spending too high without demanding more immediate cuts in return. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is widely expected to oppose the proposal, and his top GOP leadership lieutenants also raised deep concerns Wednesday, highlighting the party’s continued divide over fiscal strategy, which has only intensified since the October government shutdown.
The Democratic-controlled Senate today voted to invoke the so-called nuclear option out of frustration over Republicans who have been blocking President Barack Obama’s nominees.
The controversial move is a rules change that could make a partisan environment even more divisive because it takes away the right for the Senate’s minority party to filibuster.
Under the old rules it took 60 votes to break a filibuster. The change now allows most filibusters of Obama nominees to be stopped with 51 votes — a simple Senate majority.
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TALKING POINTS MEMO
By Sahil Kapur
The Senate minority leader urged GOP members, including committee chairmen, who arevoicing strong concerns with the painful military cuts under sequestration to hang tough and stand by the austerity spending level of $967 billion.
“I wish the budget conference well, but I do hope that at the end of the day we’ll support the Budget Control Act. It’s the law of the land,” McConnell told reporters afterward. “It sets out [spending] caps to be achieved. We know that it’s been highly successful. We’ve reduced for two years in a row for the first time since the Korean War. I think it’s a bad idea to revisit a law that is actually working and reducing spending for the government. Within those constraints, I wish them well. … I hope they will comply with the law.”