House Votes to Cut $61B

Congress can expect more late nights over the next few weeks: Just after 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning, the House passed legislation to cut $61 billion from the budget, a victory for the conservative freshman class and an opening shot in what promises to be a brutal budget fight. The vote fell along party lines—235 to 189—with the three abstaining Republicans holding out for still larger cuts. Amendments were added that cut funding to Planned Parenthood, blocked funding for President Obama’s health-care overhaul, and reduced funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by a third. Other amendments prevented the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases and barred the federal government from regulating privately owned colleges. “This week, for the first time in many years, the People’s House was allowed to work its will—and the result was one of the largest spending cuts in American history,” said John Boehner. The House budget would impose immediate sharp spending reductions in almost every area of government, whereas Obama’s budget calls for a five-year spending freeze. The two sides have until March 4 to find common ground in order to avert a shutdown of the federal government.