Filibuster to follow by Rand Paul…..
House lawmakers in both parties joined forces Wednesday to pass a sweeping budget deal that marks both a parting victory for outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and a valedictory gift for his likely replacement, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
The final vote was 266 to 167, with 79 Republicans joining every Democrat in sealing passage. Ryan was among the supporters.
The legislation, which raises federal spending levels and expands the government’s borrowing authority, would push two of Congress’s fiercest fiscal fights well beyond next year’s elections, avoiding potential standoffs with President Obama and easing Ryan’s transition into the Speaker’s chair.
The package drew fierce opposition from conservative Republicans, who denounced both the secret talks that produced it and the policy provisions featured within, particularly the spending hikes and the debt-ceiling increase.
That vexation was on full display during Wednesday’s vote — more than half the Republicans bucked their leadership to vote no — but their opposition was not enough to prevent a coalition of Democrats, budget hawks and Boehner allies from approving the measure.
Leaders worked to shrink the level of opposition in the hours before the vote. Farm state lawmakers furious over additional cuts to crop insurance that were included to help pay for the bill were ultimately won over after leaders promised to scrap those cuts in upcoming appropriations legislation.
The vote sends the proposal to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), one of the bill’s chief architects, has vowed to take it up quickly. Senate Republicans are facing a tough election cycle next year, and McConnell has fought to eliminate the threat that his candidates will be damaged by another pitched budget fight next year.
That effort will be delayed by a promised filibuster from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a 2016 presidential hopeful opposed to the higher spending caps and hike to the debt ceiling. But the measure is expected to sail through the upper chamber with bipartisan support early next week, sending the package to the White House for Obama’s signature.
The Treasury Department says there’s little time to spare, warning that the government would begin to default on its obligations on Nov. 3 if Congress failed to raise the debt limit before then.
For Ryan, Wednesday’s vote was an early test for the reluctant young leader. Although the Ways and Means Committee chairman has built a reputation for a devotion to fiscal conservatism, he’s also been the target of far-right lawmakers and activists wary that he’ll be too willing to compromise across the aisle — attacks fueled by his role in securing a bipartisan budget deal in 2013.
As a clear sign of that skepticism, only 200 Republicans voted to nominate Ryan for Speaker in a closed-door meeting of the GOP conference just hours before the budget vote — a figure short of the 218 he’ll need to secure the gavel on the House floor Thursday. Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), the pick of the conservative Freedom Caucus, won 43 votes.