Senate prepares to pass budget deal

Senate prepares to pass budget deal

BUDGET DEAL: U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) talks to reporters after a Senate cloture vote on budget bill on Capitol Hill in Washington Dec. 17. Photo: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate was ready on Wednesday to pass a two-year budget deal aimed at avoiding a government shutdown in January despite objections by senators from both parties to proposed pension cuts for military retirees.

Final passage was all but assured on Tuesday when the Senate voted 67-33 to advance the measure to a final, simple majority vote late Wednesday afternoon in the Democratic-controlled chamber.

The deal, passed by the House last week, restores overall fiscal 2014 spending levels for so-called “discretionary” programs to $1.012 trillion, trimming the across-the-board budget cuts that were set to begin next month by about $63 billion over two years.

The money to offset the restored funds will come from a variety of sources, including increased security fees for airline passengers and pension-related cuts for federal employees and military retirees.

The small-scale deal does not increase tax revenue as Democrats wanted nor cut non-discretionary federal benefits programs, known as “entitlements,” as Republicans wanted.

The military retiree pension cuts sparked the most debate.

Republican Senator John McCain urged passage because the deal would spare the military from much larger budget cuts in 2014, which would impact training and military readiness.

“This is the essence of what we’re supposed to be doing,” McCain said. “The option of shutting down the government is something that I don’t really understand.”

(Reporting By David Lawder; Editing by Fred Barbash and Cynthia Osterman)

Latest Headlines

in Local

Lobsterman Found Dead


Officials say a 78-year-old lobsterman was found dead on his boat after the Coast Guard and Maine Marine Patrol responded to a runaway lobster boat in Rockland.

in Local

FairPoint Unemployment Benefit Decision is Reversed


The chairwoman of Maine's Unemployment Insurance Commission has reversed a decision to award unemployment benefits to workers who went on strike against FairPoint Communications.

in Local

Maine Governor Warns Residents to Keep an Eye on Weather


Maine Gov. Paul LePage is urging residents to keep an eye on the weather forecast this weekend in the event the track of Hurricane Joaquin shifts closer to the state.

in Local

Maine Police Charge Truck Driver in Fatal Hit-and-Run


Police in Maine say a Harrison man was behind the wheel of a pickup truck that struck and killed a South Paris woman over the weekend.

in Local

Ethics Panel Sends Campaign Spending Plan to Legislature


AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) Maine’s ethics commission is sending a proposal designed to shed more light on who’s donating to large…


  • 9h
  • 19h
  • 20h
  • 22h
  • 23h
  • 26h
  • 29h