The deed is done.
More than six months after the beginning of Fiscal Year 2011, Congress has finally approved funding for the government through September 30.
It took an 11th hour agreement this past Friday and then it took bi-partisan votes in the House and Senate yesterday to make it happen.
It was a messy process, and remained messy yesterday.
While the compromise agreement was touted as $38 billion in cuts, there were, as usual, some squirrely cuts to smooth the deal.
It turns out that the hard-won deal included about $13 – $18 billion of cuts that were kind of smoke and mirror reductions, cuts of money that would not have been spent in any case.
In addition, the Congressional Budget Office analyzed the agreement, and concluded and the net effect of the reductions in this fiscal year is $352 million in outlays. There the problem is that the agreement covered budget authority (the authority to spend money) while the money actually spent each fiscal year is called outlays.
Hard right Republicans went apoplectic and began announcing they could not stomach the compromise.
Speaker Boehner was embarrassed when 59 Republicans voted against the compromise (while 179 voted for), objecting to the cuts being too small. As a result, the Speaker was forced to rely on Democratic votes to adopt the appropriations.
The House vote in favor of the measure was 260 -167.
Democrats split 81 for and 108 against.
In the Senate, the deal went down more smoothly. After not much debate, the vote in favor of the measure was much larger than in the House, 81 – 19, with four Democrats and 15 Republicans in opposition.
The House, after voting for the appropriations, then went back to reinforce its ideological posture by endorsing a separate measure to defund the new health care law as well as Planned Parenthood. The House had previously endorsed both measures when it considered the budget in February.
The Senate said thanks but no thanks, and rejected both. Part of the deal announced last Friday was a requirement that the Senate hold a vote on both measures that was destined to fail. Republicans wanted to get the Senate on record.
After more than six months of strum and dang, Fiscal Year 2011 is finally covered.
On to Fiscal Year 2012 budget – which the House is taking on today. It is expected to endorse the Ryan (R-WI) budget approved by the House Budget Committee that will then die in the Senate.
And on to consideration in a few months over a bill to raise the debt ceiling.