Earlier this week, the budget conference committee, under the leadership of Representative Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray, released its agreement, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (BBA). The BBA raises the budget caps of the Budget Control Act for the this fiscal year and the next, extends the sequester from 2021 through 2023, trims back on Federal contributions to civilian and some military retirement plans, and eliminates waste and fraud in some public assistance programs. Last night, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the plan, 332-94. The prevailing side was comprised of 169 Republicans and 163 Democrats, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The opposition included 62 Republicans and 32 Democrats. Many Members of Congress, including Speaker John Boehner and Pelosi, supported the deal, and some even praised it, even if they were not entirely satisfied.
Although the deal saw five dozen plus conservative Republican defections, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s reputation among the dissenters remains largely in tact. In other words, his conservative credentials have remained untarnished. The respect Chairman Ryan enjoys among his colleagues suggests that he could well become Speaker in the future.
Since the House has passed the BBA, it now moves on to the Senate, which will start its work on the bill on Tuesday. The Senate-watchers are now speculating on what some Republicans are going to do. The body will likely have to vote for cloture to bring debate to a close, meaning a handful of Republicans will have to join the Democrats to amass 60 votes. A number of Republicans have already come out against it, notably including Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, whose comments drew a rebuke from Chairman Ryan. Roll Call’s Senate reporters Meredith Shiner and Niels Lesniewski have suggested that cloture will be successful, but close.
Life in DC isn’t all fun and games like the budget battles. There are really serious arguments going on in town: the “Battle of the Juicy Lucys”. A Juicy Lucy—or Jucy Lucy for purists—is a cheeseburger with the cheese roasted inside the patty. It was created in Minneapolis but has since migrated to the nation’s capital. Roll Call’s Warren Rojas review local eateries that offer the culinary delight.
And for our latest blog post: Flattening the Rules: The Implications of the Senate Nuclear Option