The US House of Representatives has approved a compromise federal budget deal brokered last week, which seeks to cut $38 billion in spending from the current fiscal year. The deal now goes to the Senate for final approval.
REUTERS - The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a budget deal struck last week by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders, the first of several looming showdowns on spending and debt reduction.
In a setback for House Speaker John Boehner, 59 of his Republicans rebelled against him and he needed Democratic help to pass the 11th-hour deal, which averted a government shutdown and cut $38 billion in spending for the current fiscal year.
The budget deal now goes to the Senate for final approval later on Thursday.
The House vote was the first act in a growing political battle over spending and debt, with Obama and Congress gearing up for new fights over the 2012 fiscal year budget and an increase in the $14.3 trillion U.S. debt limit.
Obama made long-term debt reduction a top priority on Wednesday in a speech calling for cutting $4 trillion of the U.S. budget deficit over 12 years, ensuring the issue will be a prime focus during his 2012 re-election campaign.
Boehner was under pressure to keep his Republicans in line and get the 218 votes he needed to pass the budget deal without Democratic support. That would have strengthened his hand in the coming negotiations with Obama and Democrats.
Boehner and Obama have been whipsawed on the issue, with conservative Republicans demanding deeper spending cuts and liberal Democrats fearful the cuts will hurt crucial social programs as the economy struggles to climb out of recession.
The budget deal passed with support from 81 Democrats, with 108 voting against it.