Senate Votes to Move Forward on Budget Bill

Senators have rare bipartisan budget bill vote.

Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., takes an escalator to the Senate for votes on nominations late Monday evening, Dec. 16, 2013, at the Capitol in Washington.
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The Senate voted 67 to 33 Tuesday to move key budget legislation forward that will keep the federal government from a shutdown in January.

The budget legislation passed the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a procedural hurdle with the help of 12 Republicans. The filibuster still exists on legislation like the budget, but it does not exist for presidential appointees or judges with the exception of the Supreme Court.

The $85 billion compromise package will keep the government funded during the next two years at just more $1 trillion a year and will reduce the federal deficit by $23 billion.

[READ: Senate to Hold Key Vote On Budget]

The legislation also restores $63 billion to defense and domestic spending programs that were affected by automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.

The deal represents a major shift within a Congress that before this month had lurched from one fiscal crisis to the next. Lawmakers rose after the bill to voice their optimism that the budget bill's passage signals the Congress could make more progress in 2014.

"When we come back next year, I am ready to go to work with Chairman Ryan or anyone else from either side of the aisle," Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., said on the Senate floor before the vote. "It isn't going to be easy, but the American people expect nothing less."

The legislation didn't win the approval of many fiscal and defense hawks on the Republican-side of the aisle, however.

[ALSO: John Boehner Unchained: Why the House Speaker Finally Stood Up To the Far]

Republicans facing primary challenges in the 2014 midterm election including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., voted against the bill arguing it did not do enough to reduce the country's long-term deficit.

Others like Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., voted against the bill because it cut military benefits for retirees by 1 percent.

"These proposed cuts represent a broken promise to those who have voluntarily chosen to serve our nation in the military," Wicker said on the Senate floor ahead of the vote.

The Senate is expected to vote on final passage of the bill as early as Wednesday evening. The bill will then go to President Barack Obama's desk where he is expected to sign it.

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