WASHINGTON (AP) - The House has given sweeping bipartisan approval to a budget bill backed by both President Barack Obama, his Democratic allies and a big majority of the chamber's Republicans.
The 332-94 vote sends the measure to the Senate, where Republicans are more skeptical. But the Democratic-led chamber appears sure to adopt the measure next week and send it to Obama for his signature.
The package was drafted by a congressional odd couple of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray. The Wisconsin Republican and Washington Democrat found enough compromise to ease the harshest effects of another round of automatic spending cuts set to hit the Pentagon and domestic agencies next month.
Supporters of the measure easily beat back attacks on it from conservative activists.
Congressman Walter B. Jones announced his opposition Thursday. He says the bill purports to trim the deficit by a small margin over the next 10 years but enacts immediate increases in federal spending.
Congressman Jones issued the following statement regarding his vote against the bill:
“Americans are fed up with the tired Washington game of spending more today while promising cuts in the distant future, most of which never materialize. Sadly, this budget deal is just more of the same, and it will increase federal spending by $63 billion over the next two years. At a time when the national debt is an astonishing $17 trillion, our focus should be on eliminating wasteful federal spending now – particularly overseas spending in countries such as Afghanistan, which will continue unabated under the terms of this bill. The bill also breaks faith with our retired service members by cutting the retiree benefits they have rightfully earned through their years of selfless service to our country. Furthermore, the bill imposes an increased ‘fee’ – otherwise known as a tax – on every airline passenger in the country. Given these facts, I cannot in good conscience support this legislation.”