CNN vote count: Budget deal nearing Senate approval, but not there yet
Updated: 2013-12-17 06:52:06
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The budget deal struck by Republican and Democratic lawmakers that easily passed the House of Representatives last week has run into some opposition in the Senate. But according to CNN's vote count, the deal appears to be nearing passage.
There are currently a total of 39 aye votes for the budget, according to the count, with five Republicans joining 33 Democrats and one independent. All no votes, according to the count, are coming from Republicans, with 23 Senate offices telling CNN they plan to vote against the deal.
While Democrats do not have the 50 votes needed for final passage, top aides in both parties privately expressed confidence on Friday the bill will get the necessary support, even if a couple of wary Democrats end up voting "no."
But before the measure faces a final vote, it will need to pass the higher threshold of 60 votes to clear procedural hurdles in a vote that is set to happen Tuesday. But a number of Republicans have said they plan to back the motions that will eventually allow Democrats to only need a straight majority to pass the bill and senators and aides in both parties said they expected to break a filibuster Tuesday and that the budget would pass later this week.
The five Republicans who plan to support the deal are Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Johnny Isakson of Georgia.
Isakson is the most recent Republican to come out in support of the bill. In a Monday statement, the Republican lawmaker said that he "will vote for cloture and for final passage of the Murray-Ryan budget deal because it finally gives America a budget to operate under and averts government shutdowns through 2015."
"As a longtime advocate of biennial budgeting, I believe this bipartisan agreement is a good first step toward managing government spending and the fiscal policy of our country," Isakson said. "While reforms included in the agreement are modest, most move America in the right direction."
The deal worked out by House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray soared through the house, passing by a 332-94 vote. The budget - while smaller than some had wanted - is a bright spot of bipartisanship in what has been a year full of bitter partisanship.
For many, the deal represents a way to ensure that government doesn't shut down again - like it did for 16 days in October.
In the Senate, however, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have questioned aspects of the deal. More liberal senators - like Tom Harkin for Iowa - complained that an unemployment benefit extension was not included in the deal.
"There's over a million people now who cannot find a job, out of work, and right at this time of year their unemployment insurance is being cut off," Harkin told Radio Iowa last week. "It's really unconscionable."
If lawmakers don't act, unemployment benefits - at a cost of $26 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office - will expire for 1.3 million workers on December 28.
At the same time, lawmakers like Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who had expressed concern about not including unemployment benefits in the deal, told CNN they plan to vote for the compromise.
On the other side, more conservative members of the the Senate - like John Thune of South Dakota - told CNN he can't support the deal because it doesn't "include meaningful spending reforms that address our debt and deficit."
Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, along with other senators, have also raised question about reductions in cost of living benefits for military retirees.
"After careful review of the agreement, I believe it will do disproportionate harm to our military retirees," Graham said in a release. "Our men and women in uniform have served admirably during some of our nation's most troubling times. They deserve more from us in their retirement than this agreement provides."
A quarter of the Senate remains on the fence - with 25 members, including 11 Democrats, one independent and 13 Republicans - telling CNN they have not yet decided how they plan to vote. Representatives from three offices - two Democrats and one Republican - told CNN they are not announcing how they are voting.
"I will look closely at the details of this budget and evaluate how it meets the needs of New Mexicans and our country as a whole," Democrat Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico told CNN. Republicans also remain undecided, like John Cornyn of Texas, whose spokesman told CNN that the senator "will take a close look" at the deal but "is concerned about reversing spending cuts."
For this vote count, CNN has reached out to all 100 Senate offices and 10 have not responded.