WASHINGTON — The US House passed a multiyear budget deal, deemed favorable to defense, ahead of what is expected to be smooth sailing in the Senate.
The lower chamber on Wednesday voted 266 to 167 to send the sweeping new two-year budget deal unveiled by the White House and congressional leaders late Monday to the upper chamber. Conservative Republicans voiced fierce opposition to the measurebill, and only 79 Republicans voted for it; 187 Democrats supported it.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has vowed to take the it up quickly. If enacted, approved, it would set 2016 and 2017 spending levels, lessen defense and domestic sequester cuts in both years, and allow congressional appropriators to begin writing annual department spending bills.
Several pro-defense members signaled their support of the measurebudget resolution, both ahead of the vote and afterward.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, told reporters earlier in the day he would vote in favor of it, even though it cuts defense from $612 billion to $607 billion, which he opposeddid not like.
"That's the agreement which today I will vote for, but I don't want anybody to think that this will repair the damage inflicted on the military by sequestration and cuts over the last four years," Thornberry said.
Rep. Mike Turner, chairman of the HASC Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee, released a statement supporting the bill. On Oct. 15, Turner spearheaded a letter, from 102 House Republicans to House leaders, calling for spending to fall no lower than $612 billion.
He called the budget a major victory for the signers of the letter, as well as, "for our men and women in uniform."
"I welcome this two-year, bipartisan budget deal and believe it will protect our economy and reduce our deficit, while strengthening our national security," Turner said.
Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, a member of the HASC’s seapower subcommittee, said the trade for $5 billion in cuts, is two years of stability for the Pentagon and no more stopgap spending measures to fund the federal government.
"They'll be able to absorb and move forward, obviously," Conway said of the Pentagon. "It's in the ballpark."