Government Spending

House Overwhelmingly Approves Spending Measure That Rolls Back Sequester

Feds will keep spending more than they collect in revenue

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John B. Taylor

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a multi-year budgetary framework negotiated earlier this month by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.). The measure rolls back some of the reductions in spending increases known as "sequester" that kicked in under the terms of the Budget Control Act, which Congress passed and President Obama signed in the summer of 2011. The Budget Control Act sought to slow the growth of federal spending as the US debt was reaching its statutory limit of $14.3 trillion. The sequester kicked in because legislators could not agree on cuts, as required by the act. The US debt now stands at more than $17 trillion.

The bill passed today limits federal spending to just more than $1 trillion on defense and domestic programs for 2014 and 2015, and does not touch spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. It does not balance the budget in the foreseeable future and the federal government will continue to spend more than it brings in in revenue.

169 Republicans joined 163 Democrats in voting in favor of the bill. Nancy Pelosi had previously urged Democrats to embrace the suck and support the bill, while John Boehner claimed conservative groups that opposed the spending measure had "lost all credibility." Nevertheless, 62 Republicans opposed the spending bill, including libertarian-leaning Republicans like Justin Amash and Thomas Massie as well as Republicans sometimes identified as "Tea Party." Thirty-two Democrats also voted against the spending bill, mostly because they wanted to see spending at even higher levels.

You can see how your member of Congress, and the other 425*, voted here.

*7 didn't vote.

More Reason on the budget and on the sequester.

Related: The Special Inspector General for the Afghanistan Reconstruction is investigating why the military spent nearly half a billion dollars on refurbishing aircraft for the Afghan air force before abandoning the project. Top Obama Afghanistan experts, meanwhile, were stumped at a Congressional hearing when asked just how much the US has spent in Afghanistan this year.