By Andrew Taylor, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — On a bipartisan vote, the House Thursday passed a yearlong government funding measure cutting $38 billion from the budget and closing out sometimes quarrelsome negotiations between the Obama administration and Republicans dominating the House.
The measure passed by a 260-167 vote in which 81 Democrats made up for defections from dozens of GOP conservatives, many elected with tea party backing. The Senate was poised to vote later Thursday and the president has said he'll sign it into law.
The bill cuts community health programs, grants for state and local police departments, the Environmental Protection Agency and community development grants, a favorite program with mayors of both political parties
Republicans conceded the measure — a product of negotiations between the White House, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Democrats controlling the Senate — was hardly perfect. Its savings are considerably less than the $60 billion-plus in cuts that Republicans muscled through
the House in February. But they said it reverses the ever-upward course of spending.
"It stops the bleeding. It halts the spending binge and starts us moving us back in the right direction," Boehner said. "Does it cut enough? No. Do I wish it cut more? Absolutely."The Senate was standing by to complete work on the bill later in the day and send it to Obama for his signature.
Some Republicans have expressed concern since learning that the bill would cut less than $1 billion from this year's deficit, but Boehner preferred to focus on the long-term implications of the measure — and a vote tomorrow on a 10-year GOP budget blueprint that promises $6.2 trillion in savings below Obama's February budget.
"If we pass this bill, Washington will spend $315 billion less than it's currently on track to spend over the next ten years," Boehner said of Thursday's vote. "It's that simple," adding that the broader GOP budget is "the plan that will take us where we truly need to go."