Budget Deal Passes House, Senate

WASHINGTON -- The Senate passed a bill on Thursday to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year, putting an end to months of uncertainty over 2011 government funding.

The upper chamber approved the bill 81 to 19. It passed through the House of Representatives a few hours earlier by a vote of 260 to 167.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans expressed full approval of the budget deal, which was hammered out last week in closed-door meetings between the White House and leaders among the House GOP and Senate Democrats. A broad-strokes agreement was announced on Friday evening, barely averting a government shutdown, and both chambers voted to extend government funding by a week while they put together a final bill.

This week, though, the already-tepid support for the deal faded further as details emerged. The final bill was posted late on Monday evening, giving members of Congress only three days to read through the fine print of the $38 billion in funding cuts.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) bashed the deal earlier this week when he found it eliminated funds for a $50,000 port study in his home state -- even though it was removed as an attempt to block “earmarked” funds from the bill.

In the Senate, the bill drew strong opposition from Republicans, including conservatives Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

Several members of the Senate Democratic caucus also voted against the bill, including Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

With the Senate’s passage, the bill will proceed to President Barack Obama for a signature.