Sixty-seven senators--all 55 Democrats and 12 Republicans--voted to cut off debate this morning on the two-year budget deal crafted by Republican congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic senator Patty Murray of Washington. The bill now heads to a vote on final passage.
Some veterans groups and Republican senators opposed the legislation because it would reduce cost-of-living adjustments for working-age military retirees beginning in 2016. Some defense hawks, including Republican senator John McCain of Arizona, supported the deal because it spared the military from additional cuts.
The Ryan-Murray bill stops $63 billion in automatic sequestration cuts, split evenly between defense and non-defense discretionary spending over the next two years, and achieves $85 billion in savings through other cuts and new revenue over 10 years.
Paul Ryan defended the deal in an interview with THE WEEKLY STANDARD over the weekend. "It's very clear that without this deal two things would happen: The military would have borne the full force of these cuts starting in January. And we would have at least one more government shutdown drama,” he said.
“We think that's bad,” Ryan added. "We want 2014 to be a year where we don't keep cutting the military, and we focus on Obamacare, we focus on the conservative reforms we want to roll out, and we win the next election so we can start saving this country."