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Senate Passes Budget Bill, Sends It to White House

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate has passed a bipartisan budget plan that averts the debt ceiling and sets funding levels for the next two years.

The bill was passed early Friday morning, 64 votes to 35. It now heads to President Obama’s desk, where he is expected to sign it ahead of Tuesday’s debt ceiling deadline.

The budget plan suspends the debt ceiling until March 2017, allowing the government to borrow money without restriction until then. It also increases spending by about $112 billion over the next two years, offsetting that spending in part by tweaking entitlement programs and selling off petroleum reserves.

In an unusual move, the Senate reconvened at 12:01 a.m. Friday, the earliest time at which they could have returned to session on this particular bill, to begin voting to pass the deal. But because of a Senate rule, they couldn’t actually vote to end debate on the measure until one hour after they convened, at 1 a.m.

During that intervening hour, several senators took to the floor to make their case for or against the bill.

“With this bipartisan legislation, it’s possible to avert a catastrophic default and a mindless sequester,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said.

After throue vote to end debate, the Senate moved to final passage of the bill. Senators were allowed to speak for up to an hour each, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., used that opportunity to make his objections to the bill known, calling it the “worst of Washington culture.”

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