WASHINGTON (March 20, 2013)—The U.S. Senate Wednesday passed a huge spending bill that will keep the government open for business through the end of September, preventing a shutdown, but leaving in place automatic spending cuts that will mean job furloughs for hundreds of thousands of federal workers.
The bipartisan 73-26 vote sent the measure to the U.S. House, which is expected to approve the bill Thursday and then send it to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The measure would fund the day-to-day operating budgets of every Cabinet agency through Sept. 30, provide another $87 billion to fund overseas military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and maintain a pay freeze for federal workers.
The measure gives the Pentagon much-sought relief from a cash crunch in accounts for training and readiness and gives veteran health programs their scheduled increases.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called the measure “the first modest step toward reining in wasteful Washington spending.”
“Though imperfect, this bill lowers spending levels, keeps the sequester savings in place, and ensures our military and border patrol have the funding and flexibility they need. And, it will avoid more 'crisis governing' that undermines public confidence,” Cornyn said.
"A more significant, permanent solution would be for the Senate to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment, which I've sponsored and all Senate Republicans support."