Senate OKs Bill To Avert Government Shutdown; House GOP Moves Ahead On Budget Plan

The Senate measure, which funds federal operations through the end of September, is expected to gain House approval. However, the Republican's budget plan for the next fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, proposes to slash health and safety net programs and underscores the sharp differences between the parties.

The New York Times: As Senate Passes Spending Measure, Stark Budget Views Are On Display In House
The Senate passed a spending measure on Wednesday to keep the government financed through the end of September, resolving one contentious budget fight as Congress moved quickly to the next. While the Senate dealt with the most immediate financial concerns, the House of Representatives engaged in an animated debate over the budget for the 2014 fiscal year that begins when the spending measure expires Sept. 30. The irreconcilable views that the two parties hold on economics, public spending and the role of government could not have been in starker conflict. As House Republicans moved ahead with their latest attempt to dismantle President Obama's health care overhaul … Democrats were holding a news conference in the basement of the Capitol heralding the third anniversary of the law's passage (Peters and Weisman, 3/20).

The Wall Street Journal: Senate Passes Bill To Fund Operations
The Senate bill also included more money for an array of programs that enjoyed bipartisan support such as customs and border agents, disaster assistance, embassy security, and a new program to blunt cyber attacks and foreign espionage. But to offset those increases, the bill squeezed other programs, including Environmental Protection Agency programs and an Obama health-care panel (Hook, 3/20).

USA Today: Senate Approves Funding Bill To Avoid Shutdown
The spending bill, which is likely to be approved by the House and signed by the president this week, reflects the sequestration-mandated levels of spending for the remainder of the fiscal year. It includes measures that would give the Pentagon and other federal agencies more flexibility in implementing the cuts, a further acknowledgement that the reductions are here to stay. … Obama wants to replace the cuts with an equal ratio of targeted spending cuts and new revenue from closing tax loopholes. Republicans oppose any such revenue and seek only spending cuts and changes to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare (Davis, 3/21).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: GOP-Dominated House Expected To Pass Budget Plan Promising Slashing Cuts, Balance In 10 Years
A familiar budget plan to sharply cut safety-net programs for the poor and clamp down on domestic agencies performing the nuts-and-bolts programs of the government is cruising to passage in the tea party-flavored House. The Republican measure is advancing to the finish line in the House as the Senate starts a lengthy slog toward passage of a rival budget measure. It takes a sharply different view, restoring automatic cuts to agency budgets and increasing taxes by $1 trillion over the coming decade (3/21).

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