House Passes FY2011 Budget Package
It took bipartisan cooperation, but the House of Representatives managed to get a budget passed for the 2011 Fiscal Year, six months after the fact:
Eliminating any threat of a government shutdown until the fall, the House on Thursday approved a funding plan that reduces federal agency budgets by more than $38 billion for the second half of the year.
On a 260-167 vote, a bipartisan coalition supported the plan, as conservatives revolted over what they considered budgeting gimmicks and liberals opposed the plan as too draconian in its impact on programs that benefit lower-income individuals.
The Senate will take up the measure Thursday evening and is expected to pass it on a large bipartisan vote, sending it to the White House for President Obama’s signature in time to meet the Friday midnight deadline for when the current funding resolution expires.
The votes will end the fiscal year 2011 budget process, which was supposed to be wrapped up by last Sept. 30 but instead limped along through a series of seven short-term measures keeping the government open. The last six weeks witnessed an increasingly tense negotiation among Obama, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), leading to an 11th hour compromise last Friday with barely an hour to spare before a government shutdown.
The vote on the 2011 budget came after a new Congressional Budget Office analysis circulated on Capitol Hill, stirring conservative anger. The CBO said the compromise, touted as cutting $38.5 billion from this year’s federal budget, would actually trim $352 million in expected spending, with the rest of the cuts coming in “budget authority.”
There really isn’t anything in this entire process that either side should be proud of, but at least the deed is done. Now we move on to fights over the debt ceiling and the 2012 budget. If this battle was any indication, it’s going to be very ugly.