In the early hours of Friday morning, the U.S. Senate passed a budget deal, voting 64-35, that's intended to prevent the federal government from defaulting on its debt by allowing to continue to borrow money as well as raise the debt ceiling through March 15, 2017. The measure, which passed in the House 266-67 on Wednesday, would also increase federal spending for domestic and military programs by $80 billion over the next two years. The bill now heads to President Obama's desk, where he is expected to sign it.
The bill signifies a rare compromise between Democrats, who largely supported the measure, and some Republicans. Democrats argued the bill would support the middle class as well as provide relief to programs such as Medicare and Social Security. The United States was set to default on its debts as soon as Tuesday, and a government shutdown was likely in December had the deal not passed.
But many Republicans who voted against the bill were concerned over increased spending that would drive the government further in debt. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was a staunch detractor from the deal, vowing in Wednesday's GOP debate to filibuster the bill. "The right's going to get more military money, the left's going to get more welfare money," he told the Senate floor Thursday. "The secret handshake goes on, and the American public gets stuck with the bill. This deal will do nothing but explode the debt."
The budget vote came just hours after John Boehner stepped down as House speaker, handing over the top spot to Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. Ryan, who took the job on the condition that House Republicans would fall in rank behind him, had blasted the budget deal but, as Politico points out, it may have just been an effort to contrast himself with outgoing Boehner, who negotiated the deal with Dems.
Whatever. Cheers to Congress for getting something done, even if it was done reluctantly.