WASHINGTON — The bipartisan budget compromise cleared a major procedural hurdle in the Senate Tuesday, putting it on a clear path for passage.
Twelve Republican Senators joined the entire Democratic caucus in voting to move forward with the budget deal put forward by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, allowing it to clear the 60 vote threshold to move forward, 66-33.
The next vote will be on final passage, which requires only a simple majority to pass. That vote will come later this week. The House passed the bill last week.
Twelve Republicans voted to move forward on the plan: Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, Georgia Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.
The top two Senate Republicans stood against the bill, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican Whip John Cornyn voting against moving forward. Both Senators are up for re-election next year and face primary challengers who have come out against the budget.
“While I appreciate the challenges that House and Senate negotiators faced in crafting the budgetary guidelines, I cannot support the legislation they have agreed to,” McConnell said in a statement. “The Budget Control Act (BCA) was designed to cut spending in the short and long term, and I remain convinced that Congress should continue to adhere to the fiscal restraints it set. For the first time since the Korean War, government spending has declined for two years in a row as a result of the BCA. This was hard-won progress on the road to getting our nation’s fiscal house in order. We should not go back on that commitment.”
No Democrats voted against moving forward on the plan.
Several members who voted ‘yes’ on the procedural vote are expected to vote against final passage of the bill.