Washington Bureau

01.16.14

Senate Passes Omnibus Budget

Despite a threatened amendment to defund Obamacare from Ted Cruz, the Senate overwhelmingly approved the omnibus budget Thursday.

There’s seems to be only one thing that can spur the United States Senate into taking quick and decisive bipartisan action; a long weekend.

Not even an attempt by Ted Cruz to defund Obamacare yet again kept the Senate from wrapping up a vote on the omnibus budget deal Thursday night by a vote of 72-26 in order to get out of town for a scheduled recess.

Whereas, normally Senate rules would require 30 hours of debate after a motion for cloture was filed, Democrats and Republicans came together to agree to cut off debate, rather than wait around Washington DC until Saturday to vote. Cruz, in lieu of offering an anti-Obamacare amendment that would keep the Senate in session even longer, agreed simply to give a floor speech expressing his opposition after many of his colleagues reportedly objected in a private lunch. 

The House passed the omnibus budget bill Wednesday, which will fund the government through September by a vote of 359-67 over opposition from some outside conservative groups. With the Senate vote, the 1,582 page bill now goes to the White House for the president's signature.

The omnibus budget bill was the result of a bipartisan compromise reached in December over the Murray-Ryan budget deal to set a topline number on the federal discretionary spending for the rest of 2014. The omnibus filled in the details, laying out how much would be spent on specific government programs for the rest of the fiscal year.