The two-year federal budget agreement passed a major Senate test on Tuesday and now appears headed for easy passage despite stern objections by conservatives and opposition from a majority of upper chamber Republicans.
In a 67-33 vote, the upper chamber authorized a final vote on the measure, the product of a House-Senate conference committee. The House passed the package in overwhelming fashion last week. In this instance, all 53 Democrats and two independents who generally side with the party voted in support of the bill along with 12 Republicans.
The vote was on cloture – whether or not to proceed to a final vote. A few of the 12 Republicans who opted to proceed are expected to oppose the bill itself.
One of those, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), said, “Although I can’t support it, I appreciate the efforts of Rep. Ryan and Sen. Murray to bring certainty to the budget process, which is why I voted earlier today to allow a Senate vote on their agreement, which had passed the House with two-to-one Republican support.”