Senate approves budget deal; agreement sent to President


The U.S. Senate approved a bipartisan budget agreement on Wednesday sending the bill to President Obama for his signature.

Senators voted 64-36 in favor of a bill that sets a spending blueprint designed to ease spending cuts and keep government operations funded through 2015.

The Washington Post reports nine Republicans joined with 55 Democrats to approve the legislation. Approval of the agreement comes about four weeks ahead of a Jan. 15 deadline, though it does not erase the threat of a government shutdown.

The agreement sets parameters of federal spending levels, but it leaves work on the details up to the House and Senate appropriations committees.

MPR News reports both of Minnesota's senators voted in favor of the agreement.

Sen. Al Franken told MPR, "It's the very definition of a compromise."

Franken added that the country can't keep lurching from budget crisis to budget crisis. He said the deal means businesses will have the stability and certainty to create jobs and stabilize the economy.

Democrats do not get the increases in domestic spending or the new tax revenue to pay for it, while Republicans agreed to a spending level higher than they wanted.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar said before voting on Wednesday the agreement is "a balance of some revenue and some cuts but it's done in a way that replaces the hammer" of automatic cuts.

The bill passed despite the objections of some Republican senators to a provision that cuts billions from military retiree benefits.

"It's not correct, and it should not happen," Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala told FOX News. Those cuts will not exempt disabled veterans, according to a report in the Washington Free Beacon.

Ahead of the Senate vote, Sessions attempted to force a vote on an amendment to strip the military veteran cuts from the agreement. That move was defeated late Tuesday.

The House previously approved the budget deal, President Obama is expected to sign it.

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