Georgia Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, both Republicans, voted today to end the debate on H.J. Resolution 59, the Bipartisan Budget Act, helping to move the legislation forward to a final vote.
The vote was 67-33 and included votes of 12 Senate Republicans. All 55 Senate Democrats voted to advance the bill. A final vote on the budget deal is expected later on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Aside from Chambliss and Isakson, Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Orrin Hatch of Utah, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Rob Portman of Ohio also voted "yea."
Sen. Alexander is the only Republican out of the group of 12 who is facing a primary challenge in 2014. He already said he won't support the final passage of the bill, but agreed that allowing for the vote in the Senate is the right thing to do since the legislation already cleared the lower chamber with big Republican support.
The bill needs 51 votes to pass in the Senate.
According to the House Budget Committee, the two-year budget deal, authored by Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash. and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would (among other things):
- set 2014 federal spending at $1.012 trillion
- set 2015 federal spending at $1.014 trillion
- save $28 billion over 10 years
- reduce deficit by $22.5 billion
- stop extension of unemployment benefits
The budget deal has seen some opposition from conservatives because of the amount of government spending.
Some Democrats oppose the bill because of spending cuts, especially the unemployment benefits cut off, which affects 1.3 million recipients and starts three days after Christmas.