The Senate cleared a spending bill late Thursday that funds the federal government for the remainder of fiscal 2011, includes nearly $40 billion in cuts and rolls back certain elements of the healthcare reform law.
Senate passes spending measure
The measure passed the Senate, 81-19, following passage by the House of Representatives earlier in the day. The spending measure was the result of a last-minute deal between congressional leaders and President Barack Obama that narrowly averted a federal government shutdown April 8. The funding bill includes $315 billion in cuts over 10 years, according to House Speaker John Boehner and eliminates the healthcare law's health exchange voucher program as well as some funding for the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, or CO-OP.
The Senate also rejected two Republican measures to block funding for the healthcare reform law, 47-53, and to block funding for Planned Parenthood, 42-58. An agreement for the Senate to hold votes on those two measures was included as part of the budget deal negotiated with the White House.
In a statement of administration policy issued shortly before the Senate vote, the Office of Management and Budget noted that the administration supported the funding bill. The measure now goes to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it.
“Although the administration would not have agreed to many of these cuts under better fiscal circumstances, the bill reflects a compromise that will help the federal government live within its means while protecting those investments that will help America compete for new jobs,” according to the statement.
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