CNN vote count: Budget deal nearing Senate approval, but not there yet
December 16th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
1 year ago

CNN vote count: Budget deal nearing Senate approval, but not there yet

Washington (CNN) - The budget deal struck by Republican and Democratic lawmakers that easily passed the House of Representatives last week has run into some opposition in the Senate. But according to CNN's vote count, the deal appears close to passage.

There are currently a total of 39 aye votes for the budget, according to the count, with five Republicans joining 33 Democrats and one independent. All no votes, according to the count, are coming from Republicans, with 23 Senate offices telling CNN they plan to vote against the deal.

While Democrats do not have the 50 votes needed for final passage, top aides in both parties privately expressed confidence on Friday the bill will get the necessary support, even if a couple of wary Democrats end up voting "no."

But before the measure faces a final vote, it will need to pass the higher threshold of 60 votes to clear procedural hurdles in a vote that is set to happen Tuesday. A number of Republicans have said they plan to back the motions that will eventually allow Democrats to only need a straight majority to pass the bill and senators and aides in both parties said they expected to break the filibuster.

The five Republicans who plan to support the deal are Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Johnny Isakson of Georgia.

Isakson is the most recent Republican to come out in support of the bill. In a Monday statement, the Republican lawmaker said that he "will vote for cloture and for final passage of the Murray-Ryan budget deal because it finally gives America a budget to operate under and averts government shutdowns through 2015."

"As a longtime advocate of biennial budgeting, I believe this bipartisan agreement is a good first step toward managing government spending and the fiscal policy of our country," Isakson said. "While reforms included in the agreement are modest, most move America in the right direction."

The deal worked out by House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray soared through the house, passing by a 332-94 vote. The budget – while smaller than some had wanted – is a bright spot of bipartisanship in what has been a year full of bitter partisanship.

For many, the deal represents a way to ensure that government doesn't shut down again – like it did for 16 days in October.

In the Senate, however, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have questioned aspects of the deal. More liberal senators – like Tom Harkin for Iowa – complained that an unemployment benefit extension was not included in the deal.

"There’s over a million people now who cannot find a job, out of work, and right at this time of year their unemployment insurance is being cut off,” Harkin told Radio Iowa last week. “It’s really unconscionable.”

If lawmakers don't act, unemployment benefits – at a cost of $26 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office – will expire for 1.3 million workers on December 28.

At the same time, lawmakers like Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who had expressed concern about not including unemployment benefits in the deal, told CNN they plan to vote for the compromise.

On the other side, more conservative members of the Senate – like John Thune of South Dakota – told CNN he can't support the deal because it doesn't "include meaningful spending reforms that address our debt and deficit."

Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, along with other senators, have also raised question about reductions in cost of living benefits for military retirees.

"After careful review of the agreement, I believe it will do disproportionate harm to our military retirees,” Graham said in a release. “Our men and women in uniform have served admirably during some of our nation’s most troubling times. They deserve more from us in their retirement than this agreement provides.”

A quarter of the Senate remains on the fence – with 25 members, including 11 Democrats, one independent and 13 Republicans – telling CNN they have not yet decided how they plan to vote. Representatives from three offices – two Democrats and one Republican – told CNN they are not announcing how they are voting.

"I will look closely at the details of this budget and evaluate how it meets the needs of New Mexicans and our country as a whole," Democrat Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico told CNN. Republicans also remain undecided, like John Cornyn of Texas, whose spokesman told CNN that the senator "will take a close look" at the deal but "is concerned about reversing spending cuts."

For this vote count, CNN has reached out to all 100 Senate offices and 10 have not responded.

– CNN's Dana Bash and Lisa Desjardins contributed to this report.


Filed under: Budget • Congress • Senate
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    GOP better listen to Ted Cruz, shut down again.....thugs of USA.

    December 16, 2013 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  2. Tampa Tim

    I would, just once, like to see Marco Rubio vote for something that would help Floridians instead of always voting for the Kochs' agenda. As for republican faux concern for veterans, republicans vote against food stamps and hundreds of thousands of veteran's families are affected.

    December 16, 2013 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  3. Marty O'tella

    I don't like Obamacare and would love to see it defunded. I realize, however, that it would be better if we could simply vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That will not happen because of the President and the Senate which is mostly liberals. Our millitary should be well financed and Obama's spending should be gone over under a microscope. Obama's lack of support for Israel is another indication that he is a Muslim.

    December 16, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  4. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The GOP didn't mind flushing 24 billion dallars down the tiolet and getting NOTHING for it , but spending 24 billon on unemployment that would boost the economy is a no no????? Who do these GOP teaparty clowns represent???? Not the American people. But 40billion for oil company tax breaks is alright??

    December 16, 2013 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Democrats should have used this opportunity to leverage an extension of unemployment. It doesn't have to be for 99 weeks, but people do need more than 26 in most places around the country. Once this budget deal is passed without it, Democrats will lack the leverage to get it later. If they think that they can get it retroactively during the debt ceiling battle, they're fooling themselves.

    December 16, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  6. Tampa Tim

    The Republican Party has done "disproportionate harm" to our country. Republican economics led to income disparity in the 1890s, the Great Depression, the Great Recession of 2008, yet the brain dead vote for these corporatists.

    December 16, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    I think it's very shameful of Congress to cut off unemployment benefits for 1.3 million people. It's not like all of these people are democrats. They're republicans & independents too. If unemployment insurance isn't included in this deal, then Congress better come up with a resolution dealing with it immediately. Republicans talk about a war on Christmas while they're acting like the Grinch.

    December 16, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  8. rs

    What in the world is wrong with the GOP? This is their budget! These faux radicals are simply addicted to conflict, obstruction and breaking government- not to mention their sponsors at ALEC, the Club for Growth, Heritage Foundation and other Right-wing cesspools.
    We get it GOP, you now find leading beneath you. Don't worry, the American voter has a solution!

    December 16, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  9. pkMyt1

    So the Grand Obstructionist Party in the Senate is filibustering the budget and requiring 61 votes to "end debate". Nothing new here.

    December 16, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  10. Derek

    OMG... Congress working together!! I imagine the party of "NO!" is preparing for 2014 elections.

    You have a 7% approval rating.. I think that say's it all. You should probably start applying for Unemployment Insurance now Tea Party members. Your government shut down cost taxpayers over 10 billion dollars.

    I hate to give you a vacation to play golf, but you have done NOTHING in congress for the American people.

    December 16, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  11. wms

    To all members of congress dont forget that the same people that put you in power are the same people you guys are getting ther euc cut off just in time for xmas thats great went my kids ask me daddy why the santa did not!! Come to our house and they said we were good no nauthy!! But I guess is ok because you guys will go home to your kids and love ones and no worrys about xmas because you guys are all set!! Please pass the euc extension we need it my kids need it.....

    December 16, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  12. Tony in Maine

    When I was a kid in the 1940's – people were urged to save that stack of Confederate bills stuffed into a shoebox because we were assured "the South will rise again." We thought it was a joke. But the wingnuts seemed determined to do in the 21st century what they couldn't do in the 19th – turn our country into a confederation of states.

    December 16, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Marty O'tella

    I don't like Obamacare and would love to see it defunded. I realize, however, that it would be better if we could simply vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That will not happen because of the President and the Senate which is mostly liberals.
    ----------------
    What the "I lost my plan", anti-Obamacare crowd has failed to tell you is that if they did repeal it, then everyone would lose their current health care plan. And, the replacement plans are almost guaranteed to cost more and cover less because Republicans want to keep in place the part about not being denied coverage for a pre-existing condition.

    December 16, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |