Senate passes budget bill

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.


WASHINGTON, Aug. 2-The U.S. Senate voted 74-26 in favor of the debt ceiling compromise worked out between Congressional leaders and the White House. Senators agreed that the bill must get at least 60 votes to pass. The bill now goes to the President, who is expected to sign it before the midnight deadline to raise the debt ceiling.

"This debt ceiling package is far from perfect, but it does prevent a catastrophic default of the nation's finances,” said U.S. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D). “Everyone has to recognize that the alternative to agreeing to this package would be a financial crisis that could send the economy into a downward spiral.

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The Republican-controlled U.S. House approved the plan on Monday with a 269-161 vote. Sixty-six Republicans voted against the proposal and 95 Democrats voted in favor of the bill.

“The American people sent a wave of new lawmakers to Congress in last November's election with a very clear mandate: to put our nation's fiscal house in order,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “Slowly but surely, we've started turning things around.”

The measure raises the debt ceiling in several steps until 2013 and reduces the federal budget deficit by $2.1 trillion over 10 years. The first round of budget savings totaling $900 billion will not require any reduction in farm safety net payments. The legislation creates a bipartisan congressional committee to recommend how up to $1.5 trillion of the deficit reduction will be accomplished, through spending cuts and/or revenue. Those recommendations must be voted on by the full House and Senate. If the joint committee or Congress fails to act, the bill calls for a trigger of automatic across-the-board cuts.

“To be clear, the special committee's $1.5 trillion target is not a ceiling on deficit reduction,” Conrad said. “In fact, the special committee presents another critical opportunity to achieve the bipartisan grand bargain on deficit reduction that has so far eluded us.”

The plan also requires Congress to vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, which would require a 2/3 majority in both houses. 

“One of the most important things about this legislation is the fact that never again will any President, from either party, be allowed to raise the debt ceiling without being held accountable for it by the American people and without having to engage in the kind of debate we've just come through,” McConnell said. 


For a list of Senators voting against passage, see below:


Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Dan Coats (R-IN)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Dean Heller (R-NV)
Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Mike Lee (R-UT)
Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Ben Nelson (D-NE)
Rand Paul (R-KY)
Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Pat Toomey (R-PA)
David Vitter (R-LA)


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