WASHINGTON — Here is how area senators voted on major issues in the week ending Dec. 20. The House was not in session.
- TWO-YEAR BUDGET DEAL: Voting 64 for and 36 against, the Senate on Dec. 18 gave final congressional approval to a two-year, bipartisan spending and revenue plan that will enable Congress to operate in a stable budget environment through September 2015. The measure (HJ Res 59) softens the impact of the blind cuts known as sequestration on defense readiness and critical domestic programs; raises a variety of taxes and fees by $7 billion over 10 years; reduces deficit spending by $23 billion over 10 years and slightly raises discretionary spending to $1.012 trillion in fiscal 2014 and $1.014 trillion in fiscal 2015. Additionally, the bill would save $6 billion over 10 years by trimming cost-of-living increases in the pensions of military retirees who are younger than 62.
Among its revenue provisions, the bill would increase airline ticket fees; raise pension contributions by newly hired federal employees; trim certain payments to Medicare providers; increase fees paid by corporations to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and require states to pay a larger share of the cost of managing mineral leases on federal land.
Angus King, I-Maine, said the deal “will finally get us out of the business of governing by crisis, of lurching from crisis to crisis and threats of shutdown and continuing resolutions” and will “demonstrate to the country that we can do our job.”
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