A compromise budget deal was set to become law after the US Senate approved the measure 64—36 Wednesday, breaking years of gridlock over government spending that has become a hallmark of Washington politics.
The measure is designed to avert another costly government shutdown and minimize damage from across—the—board spending cuts.
The lower House of Representatives approved the bipartisan deal last week and President Barack Obama has indicated he would sign the compromise measure, which was forged by negotiators from the House and Senate.
Seen as imperfect by both Democrats and Republicans, the measure would fund the government for the next two years in a bid to avoid the partisan gridlock that prompted a 16—day government shutdown in October.
The White House was hopeful the budget’s success in passing Congress would signal a willingness toward greater bipartisan cooperation in Congress, while acknowledging the ongoing challenges of obstructionism, spokesman Jay Carney said.
“It is our hope that Republicans, in the House in particular, will see the wisdom in getting things done that the American people would like to see done — getting things done that, like the budget agreement, help the economy grow, help the middle class,” he said.
The proposal sets discretionary spending at just over 1 trillion dollars for each of the 2014 and 2015 budget years.
In 2014, discretionary spending would be 520.5 billion dollars for defence and 491.8 billion dollars for non—defence spending. Much of government spending is consumed by other non—discretionary spending, such as healthcare programmes for the poor and elderly and payouts to pensioners, which are not included in the budget.
The deal would ease the automatic, across—the—board spending cuts known as the sequester by 63 billion dollars, while making 85 billion dollars in cuts elsewhere and reducing the deficit by 23 billion dollars.