In rare bipartisan action, Congress approves $1.1 trillion budget
January 16th, 2014
06:20 PM ET
7 months ago

In rare bipartisan action, Congress approves $1.1 trillion budget

Updated 7:46 p.m. ET, 1/16/2014

(CNN) – The Senate on Thursday easily passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September and sent it to President Barack Obama, a notable departure from chronic, partisan-fueled budget battles in recent years that included the government shutdown last October.

The decisive vote, 72-to-26, concluded congressional action that for the first time since 2012 determined federal spending agency by agency instead of through temporary stopgap measures that spotlighted the divisiveness in Washington.

Seventeen Republicans joined 55 Democrats in supporting the legislation.

The House approved the budget measure on Wednesday in another strong bipartisan vote, 359-to-67.

"With very few exceptions we've heard nothing but positive comments from my colleagues here in the Senate," Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, said on the Senate floor as the vote neared.

Democrats were just as eager to brag about the budget as an example of a Congress that can indeed function.

"These efforts show that we Democrats and Republicans can work together for the good of the country," said one of the people most responsible for the bill, Appropriations Committee Chairman Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat. "We can avoid drama ... fiscal cliffs and shutdowns."

The sweeping bill hits nearly every corner of government. It includes a 1 percent pay increase for troops and a 1 percent cost-of-living boost for federal workers.

Obama is expected to sign the measure.

In recent years, must-pass funding bills have been flashpoints for epic battles over health care, the deficit and social policies from contraception to abortion.

As a result, Congress punted most key spending decisions by extending past funding bills, allowing sweeping spending cuts to take effect and failing to decide what agencies needed funding increasing and what ones needed cuts.

But following the government shutdown in October, Republican and Democratic leaders took a different approach following last October's government shutdown, tempering partisan rhetoric in public and discussing compromise in private.

Both sides made tradeoffs in the end.

Democrats won - and Republicans conceded - on continued funding for Obamacare as well as large spending increases for Head Start and mental health programs.

Republicans gained - and Democrats lost - on continued budget cuts for the Environmental Protection Agency and the IRS.

Other highlights:

* Disabled veterans and some veteran's families will be protected from a pension cut slated for younger military retirees.

* Funding will increase and budget cuts will be reversed for: the FBI, mental health programs, the Army Corps of Engineers, cybersecurity programs, the Social Security Administration, Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health.

* Budget-cut levels will continue for: Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Education, Department of Labor, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

* The bill freezes a program to phase-out inefficient incandescent lightbulbs. Though manufactures have told CNN they make stop making the bills regardless.

* Secretary of State John Kerry must certify that Libya is working to find those behind the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi in 2012 before before any funding can go to Tripoli.

* The bill bans any spending on official portraits and freezes many top government salaries, including the Vice President's.

While the bill passed with bipartisan support in both chambers, not everyone was cheering.

"I cannot support a funding bill that violates the only real progress we have made in getting our fiscal house in order over the past several years," Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker wrote in a statement following his "no" vote.

Corker and others questioned the bill's use of long-term savings to increase spending over the next nine months.

Another source of anger: the relatively quick timeline from the unveiling of the bill late Monday to final passage Thursday.

"We were given but a day to review this 1,582 page document ... this reflects its own shortcomings," wrote South Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Sanford.

Steve Ellis, vice president of the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, said it was "staggering" that the bill flew "through the Capitol like a greased pig."


Filed under: Budget • Congress
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. vincent

    there a bunch of BUMS all of them

    January 16, 2014 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  2. Vincent

    And the US citizen won't see a dime..

    January 16, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  3. vincent

    Government for the Koch Brothers by the Koch Brothers

    January 16, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  4. mckillio

    Is this an Onion article?

    January 16, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. VJ

    It didn't addressed unemployment problem. No new investment... We need investments...

    January 16, 2014 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  6. Anonymouse

    Haha. Tea Party Marginalized.
    Suckers.

    January 16, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  7. neal

    pretty sure everybody in CONgre$$ got their "cut" of the cake. More pork barrel $pending....

    January 16, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  8. BOB

    Does the fall of the Roman Empire ring a bell?

    January 16, 2014 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  9. HenryMiller

    "In rare bipartisan action, Congress approves $1.1 trillion budget"

    In rare bipartisan action, Congress screws the taxpayers—that's over $8 thousand per taxpayer.

    January 16, 2014 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  10. Hillcrester

    Now let's see if the GOP is willing to approve, without the usual drama, the increase in debt limit needed to pay for the spending that has just been authorized.

    January 16, 2014 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  11. andrr

    Holiday tax was removed, thus increase of 2% in payroll tax...This means federal/military loss 1% in new budget...Media needs to stop lying to us...

    January 16, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  12. Rogue351

    This only because elections are coming around. The "public" has very short memories of past government actions or in this case lack of action. Congress hopes that everyone will forgive and forget. Which, most of you will, sadly.

    January 16, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  13. Randy, San Francisco

    Better late than never. Finally Speaker Boehner found some back bone showed some leadership by ignoring the Tea Party cry baby brats in his caucus.

    January 16, 2014 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  14. DL

    I wonder if it still cuts veterans' pentions. Hopefully, that was resolved. There are other places to cut aside from promises to those who gave much of their lives to defending the nation.

    January 16, 2014 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  15. Badger1217

    What budget? This is just another spending bill. There hasn't been a budget passed in 5 years.

    January 16, 2014 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  16. Caryla

    So. . .now how about extending the unemployment benefits. I'm on a sinking ship here! Please help!

    January 16, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  17. Mark

    Democrats and Republicans cooperating with each other? What is it an election year? Lol.

    January 16, 2014 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  18. SoCalMatt

    Geez, Congress gets something done and no comments about it? Damn you Obama! Lol

    January 16, 2014 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  19. longfisch

    I can not understand why we are surprised that both parties always come together in the end, the public fighting is just political theater to keep us at each other throat. One party panders to one set of demographics, the other party to another set of demographics. We act like they really are at war with each other, when if fact they are just playing a game to keep us from asking any real questions or expecting any real change.

    January 16, 2014 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  20. gstlab3

    any time these people can distract us or drum up some fake scandal they get together and rip us all off to the tune of 1.1 trillion this time and never mind the previous 17 or is it 20 trillion other dollars they do'nt have that they allready printed and spent?

    January 16, 2014 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  21. Joe Seattle

    "an example of a Congress that can indeed function."

    So we have a balanced budget then?

    January 16, 2014 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  22. woody

    The dems are being giving the rope to hang themselves on Obamacare. This is exactly what I would have advised the Republicans to do. Don't give the dems any case against you. Come November, Republicans will reemerge as dominant in both houses. Leftism can be at last reversed in the US. Prosperity will return.

    Keep up the good work guys. These idiots will get their pink slips soon.

    January 16, 2014 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  23. Druggist

    1.1 trillion until september? Jeez I guess reducing the deficit is out of the question

    January 16, 2014 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  24. Kanageloa

    Wonderful. More debt and more debt. Soon I'll be working all year to pay my taxes. The government will want it all. Is that the new form of slavery?

    January 16, 2014 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  25. Jack

    You can thank in part the"Nolabels" movement and moderate Republicans who are distancing them from Limbaugh & Hannity/Tea Party Republicans.

    Tea Party Republican is a dirty word to great number of the voters; especially us Reagan Republicans.

    January 16, 2014 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
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