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Wednesday
Oct282015

House Passes 2-Year Budget Deal as John Boehner Prepares Exit

tupungato/iStock/ThinkStock(WASHINGTON) --  A minority of House Republicans joined with Democrats Wednesday to pass a two-year budget that will avert a government default and lower the odds of a shutdown in December.

The House passed the measure 266-167, with 79 Republicans joining 187 Democrats to pass the bill.

The vote was a fitting coda to House Speaker John Boehner’s speakership, which has been marked by internal GOP insurrections and the need to rely on Democrats to get must-pass legislation through the chamber.

The agreement, which Boehner negotiated with the White House and other congressional leaders on his way out of Congress, accomplishes the Ohio Republican’s goal of “cleaning the barn” for his replacement.

“I didn't want him to walk into a dirty barn full of you know what,” Boehner said Tuesday.

The Republican leader, who voted in support of the deal Wednesday, will leave Congress Thursday, after the official House vote on his successor.

The deal raises the $18 trillion-plus debt limit until 2017, and boosts domestic and military spending by $80 billion over the next two years, providing relief from the 2011 sequester spending caps.

It also tightens access to the Social Security Disability Insurance program, which pays benefits to disabled Social Security recipients and some family members, and would also prevent an expected increase in out-of-pocket costs for many people enrolled in Medicare Part B, a voluntary program which in part covers doctor visits and outpatient care.

House conservatives lashed out against the deal’s spending increases this week, as well as Boehner’s closed-door negotiations with the White House.

Ryan, who bashed the negotiations and promised to run things differently if elected speaker, voted to support the deal.

The deal also survived last-minute opposition from farm state members opposed to proposed cuts to federal crop insurance programs. (Those issues were later resolved with promises to undo the changes in the appropriations process, House Agriculture Committee leaders announced Wednesday afternoon.)

The Senate must pass the deal by Nov. 3, when the government is set to hit its borrowing limit.

Once the measure is passed by the upper chamber and signed into law, Congress will have until Dec. 11 to appropriate funds across federal agencies and programs, likely in a single omnibus spending bill.

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