Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and a number of Tea
Party-backed members, including Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco
Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky, are all likely to fight
the deal, which was approved in a bipartisan vote of the U.S. House
of Representatives last week.
But with other Senate Republicans declining to join them, for fear
of sparking another government shutdown and distracting attention
from the battle to discredit President Barack Obama's health care
law, the opponents appear unlikely to have enough votes to erect
procedural hurdles to the measure.
Backers of the deal are expected to muster the 60 votes needed in
the 100-member Senate on Tuesday to overcome any blocking tactics
and pave the way for passage of the White House-backed accord by
The measure would avert a government shutdown next month and
possibly for the next two years. It would also ease automatic
spending cuts, which many conservatives see as their only real
victory in their battle to slash the U.S. deficit.
"The new budget deal moves in the wrong direction: It spends more,
taxes more, and allows continued funding for Obamacare," said Cruz,
who was a leading figure in the 16-day government shutdown earlier
But other Senate conservatives appeared willing to go along, as did
many of their allies in the House.
"Although I disagree with a number of provisions in the bill, on
balance the good outweighs the bad," said Senator Ron Johnson of
Wisconsin, a Tea Party favorite.
Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, in a statement, said that while
the deal "isn't everything I'd hoped it would be...sometimes the
answer has to be yes."
Just weeks ago, a deal seemed out of reach for the sharply divided
Congress, which has struggled to do much of anything the past three
years and has consistently received a public approval rating of less
than 10 percent.
But House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget
Committee Chair Patty Murray reached an agreement last week, albeit
a relatively modest one, that drew bipartisan support in Congress
and words of praise from U.S. business leaders tired of fiscal
[to top of second column]
Ryan, among others, argued that holding out for larger cuts and
possibly provoking another shutdown crisis would not only damage the
Republican Party going into an election year, but draw attention
away from the rocky rollout of the health care law, known as
The Ryan-Murray pact does little to stem the growth of the $17
trillion federal debt, but it locks in spending levels for two
fiscal years with the goal of eliminating the threat of another
federal shutdown until at least October 1, 2015.
REDUCES SEQUESTER CUTS
By allowing a $63 billion increase in spending on federal agencies
and discretionary programs over two years in exchange for other
budget savings, it also reduces across-the-board sequester cuts that
have hit government programs from medical research to military
Some Democrats are expected to vote no because the deal does not
include an extension of jobless benefits for the long-term
The Business Roundtable, an influential group representing leading
U.S. companies, wrote senators on Monday urging them to support the
deal and end their reckless fiscal ways.
(Additional reporting by Richard Cowan, David Lawder and Susan
Cornwell; editing by Fred Barbash, Cynthia Osterman and Peter
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